When news outlets reported this morning on the death of Libyan rebel commander Abdel Fattah Younes, they generally focused on the mystery that had surrounding the incident since rumors of his demise began swirling yesterday, and especially after rebel leader Mustapha Abdul Jalil didn't identify the "gunmen" or have possession of the military chief's body when he announced Younes' death. Had Muammar Qaddafi's forces killed Younes, a former interior minister, for defecting to the opposition in February? Or had the rebels carried out the assassination because they suspected Younes of collaborating with Qaddafi? Could military rival Khalifa Hifter have orchestrated the attack as part of an internal power struggle?
While theories are still being floated this afternoon (the Qaddafi regime is pointing a finger at al-Qaeda), there's also mounting evidence that the rebels themselves killed Younes. Rebel minister Ali Tarhouni tells Reuters that rebel fighters who were dispatched to the eastern front to bring Younes back to Benghazi for questioning killed him and and dumped his body outside Benghazi. The AP, citing two Libyan officers, reports that fighters from a rebel faction known as the February 17 Martyr's Brigade killed Younes after opposition leaders arrested him "on suspicion of treason." One unnamed officer says the assassination was "an act of vengeance by rebels" rather than an order from rebel leaders, and that two rebel fighters shot Younes as he left the Defense Ministry after a round of questioning over a letter linking him to Qaddafi. "The men's leader was shouting 'Don't do it!' but they shot Younes and his two aides, and took their bodies in their car and drove away," the officer recounted.