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

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs