“With all sadness, I inform you of the passing of Abdel Fatah Younes, the commander-in-chief of our rebel forces,” NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil said as fresh explosions shook the centre of the capital, Tripoli.
“The person who carried out the assassination was captured,” Abdel Jalil said without elaborating.
Younes was shot and killed by an armed group while he was on his way to Benghazi after he had been called in from the front to answer questions over the military situation, Abdel Jalil said.
He said there would be three days of mourning in Younes’s honour.
Rumours circulated in Benghazi throughout Thursday that Younes, known as the number two in Gadhafi’s regime prior to his defection in the early days of Libya’s revolt, was arrested and killed by rebels but they could not be confirmed by AFP.
“I ask you to refrain from paying attention to the rumours that Kadhafi’s forces are trying to spread within our ranks,” Abdel Jalil told journalists after a lengthy closed door meeting with NTC members.
Moments after the announcement, two vehicles loaded with an anti-aircraft gun and at least a dozen armed men shooting in the air arrived at Tibesti hotel, where the announcement was made.
A witness said that they later managed to enter the hotel with their weapons but security forces calmed them down and convinced them to leave.
“They shouted ‘You killed him,’” in reference to the NTC, he added. Agencies