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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Libyan Rebels Say Military Chief Shot Dead

VOA News July 28, 2011

Libya's rebel leadership council says its top military commander has been shot dead by assailants.

The Transitional National Council announced the death of Abdel Fattah Younes on Thursday, hours after he was brought to the rebel's eastern stronghold of Benghazi for questioning.

Council head Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Younes was killed after he was summoned to appear before a rebel judicial committee that was tasked with looking into military operations.

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

Medical officials say at least two rebels were killed in fighting with forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi in the area, which is near the Tunisian border. Mr. Gadhafi's forces have used the town as a base to launch attacks on rebels in the region's mountains.

The fighting comes a day after Jalil said the council's offer for Mr. Gadhafi to remain in the country if he cedes power had expired.

Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi has said Mr. Gadhafi's departure is not up for discussion.

The Libyan government has 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 Mr. Gadhafi, whose "brutality" against the Libyan people has stripped him of legitimacy.

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



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