News / Africa

Libyan Rebels Say Military Chief Shot Dead

Head of the rebel forces, Abdel Fattah Younes attends a news conference in Benghazi, April 6, 2011
Head of the rebel forces, Abdel Fattah Younes attends a news conference in Benghazi, April 6, 2011

Libya's rebel leadership council says its top military commander, Abdel Fattah Younes, and two of his aides have been shot dead by unknown assailants.

Transitional National Council head Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Thursday that Younes and his aides - both colonels - were killed before arriving for questioning at an opposition judicial committee hearing regarding a "military matter."

He said the head of the armed cell that killed the men had been arrested.

Jalil never clearly indicated who he thought was behind the attack.  But he called on rebel forces to ignore "efforts to break our unity" by leader Moammar Gadhafi's government.  He also warned of "armed criminal gangs" in rebel-held cities, saying they needed to join the fight against Gadhafi or risk being arrested by security forces.

Hours earlier, the rebels said they had detained Younes on suspicion his family may still have ties to Gadhafi's inner circle.

Younes had been the Libyan leader's interior minister and one of his closest confidants before unexpectedly defecting to the opposition early in the uprising, which began in February.  He was part of the group involved in the 1969 coup that brought Gadhafi to power.

Jalil called Younes "one of the heroes of the February 17 Revolution."  He said the rebels would observe three days of mourning following his death and vowed his forces would continue their fight to overthrow Gadhafi's government.

Earlier Thursday, the Libyan opposition said it seized the western town of Ghezaia after launching a new offensive in the region.

Medical officials said at least two rebels were killed in fighting with loyalist forces in the area, which is near the Tunisian border. Gadhafi's troops had used the town as a base to launch attacks on rebels in the nearby mountains.

The fighting comes a day after Jalil said the council's offer for Gadhafi to remain in the country if he cedes power had expired.  Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi has said Gadhafi's departure is not up for discussion.

The Libyan government also condemned Britain's decision to recognize the opposition council and expel all of Libya's diplomats, calling the moves "illegal and irresponsible."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Wednesday the decision is based on the opposition's increasing legitimacy, competency and success in reaching out to Libyans across the country.

Hague said the opposition council is working toward a more open and democratic Libya, which he said is in "stark contrast" to Gadhafi, whose "brutality" against the Libyan people has stripped him of legitimacy.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid