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Libyan rebel commander killed by comrades

July 30, 2011

globalsecurity

MOSCOW, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – General Abdel Fatah Younes, the Libyan rebels’ top military commander, has been killed by his comrades after being arrested by rebel security forces on suspicion of treason, media reports said, quoting a rebel minister.

Younes and his two aides were killed on Thursday after being summoned to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi to appear before a judicial inquiry.

A rebel commander, who was arrested following the killing, confessed that he had ordered his lieutenants to kill Younes, Reuters quoted Ali Tarhouni, the rebel minister for oil, as telling journalists in Benghazi.

Abdel Fattah Younes, a member of the group behind the 1969 coup that brought Muammar Gaddafi to power, had been serving as the country’s interior minister before he defected and joined rebel forces in February, soon after the beginning of the uprising against Gaddafi’s 40-year authoritarian rule.

Rebel security forces suspected that some of Younes’ family members maintained contacts with Gaddafi, Al-Jazeera said.

Younes’ killing is seen as a sign of divisions within the opposition leadership and a blow for the Western alliance’s efforts to oust Gaddafi.

Gaddafi’s spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said on Friday that Al-Qaeda was behind Younes’ assassination.

“By this act, Al-Qaeda wanted to mark out its presence and its influence in this region” of eastern Libya controlled by the rebels, Ibrahim was quoted by Al-Jazeera as telling reporters. “It is Al-Qaeda that has the power in the east.”

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