Libya rebels fire cabinet after general’s killing

The rebel government here has dismissed its entire cabinet in the wake of the unsolved killing of a powerful military leader, who was slain almost two weeks ago after he was ordered to appear before a board of inquiry about his handling of the war effort.

As the investigation into the mysterious assassination of Abdel Fattah Younis proceeds, the leaders of the revolution in the Transitional National Council, the rebels’ governing body, sacked its 15-member cabinet Monday.

The cabinet includes the ministers of oil, finance, defense and foreign relations — all posts vital to the running of the state.

Rebel officials say that the Transitional National Council has asked the outgoing head of the cabinet, Mahmoud Jibril, to form a new board of ministers as he departs.

The Transitional National Council and its ministers were recognized last month by the United States as the sole legitimate government of Libya. While the rebel government has kept the areas it controls running — and the people supplied with food, water, fuel, security — it has been frustrated by slow progress on the front lines.

The death of Younis has shaken confidence in the rebel government, whose leaders promise that the results of a inquiry into his death will be announced soon. Younis, Gaddafi’s former security minister and his confidant for 42 years, defected with great fanfare to the revolution in February and led the military campaign against troops loyal to leader Moammar Gaddafi.

The shakeup of the cabinet was seen as a necessary housecleaning by some in Benghazi, but others thought it showed weakness and confusion.

“Given the shortcomings in the performance of some members of the executive committee with regard to this crisis and this incident, the council has decided to form a new committee,” rebel spokesman Abdul Hafidh Ghoga told al-Jazeera television.

William Booth is The Post’s Jerusalem bureau chief. He was previously bureau chief in Mexico, Los Angeles and Miami.
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