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UK welcomes investigation into killing of Libyan rebel army chief

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, July 29, IRNA -- The UK government on Friday condemned the killing of the Libyan rebel army's chief of staff Abdel Fatah Younis, while shying away from attributing responsibility, describing instead the circumstances of his death as 'unclear'.

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said he condemned the killing and had spoken to the chairman of the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council (NTC) Abd Al-Jalil to pass on his sincere condolences to him and the rebel leadership.

“Exactly what happened remains unclear. I welcome chairman Abd Al-Jalil's statement yesterday that the killing will be thoroughly investigated, and he reiterated this to me during our conversation.” Burt said.

“We agreed that it is important that those responsible are held to account through proper judicial processes,” he added without offering any further information or comments about the killing, carried out a day after the UK recognised the NTC as the sole legitimate authority in Libya.

Jalil was seen leaving more questions than answers when announcing the death of Younis, a former loyalist and interior minister of the Gaddafi regime, who defected to the rebels in February.

Despite being known for travelling in a bullet-proof jeep in a heavily-armed convoy, he was said to have been killed by unidentified assailants at an unknown time and location as he headed back from the frontline at Brega on Thursday to answer questions in Benghazi about his and his family loyalty.

It was also understood that the body of the general, along with a colonel and major killed with him, was missing amid rumour that he was being accused of treason.

According to BBC correspondent in Misrata, the killing “feeds serious doubts and concerns about the rebels' ability to end this conflict and their ability to function as a cohesive government” among countries like Britain that have officially recognised the NTC.

“Younes' death taps into tribal divisions within the opposition and some members of his Obeidi tribe are already armed and angry at what has happened.”

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30498087

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