Libyan rebel commander Gen. Abdel Fatah Younis was killed on Thursday after having been arrested on suspicion of remaining strategic ties with the Gadhafi regime. Younis had previously headed the interior ministry under Moammar Gadhafi before defecting to the rebels in February, and was assassinated by pro-Gadhafi assailants just before being questioned on the charges.
Recent reports have claimed that Younis was arrested for allegedly dealing with and smuggling arms to Gaddafi loyalists. Two of his aides – Col Muhammad Khamis and Nasir al-Madhkur – were also killed in the attack. The head of rebel council, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, announced the assassination at a news conference, but many details have not been revealed. He did say that the head of the group believed to be responsible for the killings has been arrested.
Having been arrested early on Thursday and then killed by Gadhafi loyalists just before arriving for questioning about his alleged betrayal, leads to questions about what his killers did not want him revealing to the rebels’ Transitional National Council.
Tony Birtley, reporting from Benghazi, told Al Jazeera “He spent 40 years as one of Gaddafi’s right hand men as minister of defence and in charge of the special forces. So when he came over five months ago to the opposition cause it was quite a coup. But some people have had their doubts about… his loyalties…”