News / Africa

Libyans Bury Rebel Military Chief

Libyan men carry a coffin and chant slogans during the funeral of rebels' slain military chief Abdel Fattah Younes in the rebel-held town of Benghazi, July 29, 2011
Libyan men carry a coffin and chant slogans during the funeral of rebels' slain military chief Abdel Fattah Younes in the rebel-held town of Benghazi, July 29, 2011

Thousands of Libyans turned out in rebel-held Benghazi on Friday for the funeral of the opposition's military chief.

Abdel Fattah Younes and two of his aides were gunned down on Thursday under mysterious circumstances. The military chief had been part of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's inner circle before joining the rebels earlier this year.

On Thursday, the head of the opposition Transitional National Council (TNC) said that Younes and his aides - both colonels - were killed before arriving for questioning at an opposition judicial committee hearing regarding a "military matter."

Mustafa Abdel Jalil never clearly indicated, however, who he thought was behind the attack.

Earlier, rebels said they had detained Younes on suspicion his family may still have ties to Gadhafi's government.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Friday that Younes' death will pose a challenge to the rebels because of his military expertise and leadership skills.

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.

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

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