Libyan rebel commander killed in Benghazi

The commander of the Libyan rebels, General Abdel-Fattah Younes, and two of his aides have allegedly been killed by pro-Gaddafi assailants. However, the circumstances surrounding the killing provide for alternative interpretations.

­According to Transitional National Council leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil the head of the group responsible has been arrested.

Abdel Fattah Younes was leading military actions aimed at toppling the Gaddafi regime, but on Wednesday he was summoned by rebel authorities for questioning about his alleged family ties with Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi. But Younes never made it to the meeting.

The precise circumstances of his death are still unknown but the Transitional National Council say the commander was shot dead by pro-Gaddafi assailants.

However, as Walid Phares, advisor at the anti-terrorism caucus says, there are conflicting reports over the killing.

“There are two theories here. Number one is that he had been in communication with the regime of Gaddafi, and therefore has been called upon for investigation. What is unknown according to the theory is why he was killed while he was going to the investigation.The second theory – which could be even more serious or dangerous – is that he could have been eliminated by a faction within the rebels. And both theories tell us that now Washington and Brussels are going to be very concerned about the internal military situation inside the rebel camp.”

Phares speculated further on the possible ramifications of the assassination.

“If indeed he was an individual high-ranking official who had a relationship with the Gaddafi regime, then his killing will be the end of the story,” he said.

Minutes after the announcement of the death of General Younes three severe blasts hit the Libyan capital Tripoli. There have been no reports of any casualties or injuries so far.

General Abdel-Fattah Younes, the former interior minister, joined the opposition in February.