Officials, however, agreed that the assassination of Yunis left NATO
allies of the Libyan rebels shaken. They said the killing eroded confidence
in the Libyan rebel movement by the Western alliance, which has been
fighting the Gadhafi regime since March.
"We agreed that it is important that those responsible are held to
account through proper judicial processes," Burt, responsible for Britain's
policy in the Middle East, said.
So far, the Libyan rebels have not provided a clear account of Yunis'
death. Their first accounts said Yunis, a former interior minister for
Gadhafi, was arrested for alleged ties to the Tripoli regime. Later, the
rebels said he was killed by two men and a militia commander was arrested.
"It was not him [militia leader]," rebel minister Ali Tarhouni said.
"His lieutenants did it."
Yunis was regarded as the most professional officer in the rebel
command. Under Gadhafi, whom he joined in 1969, Yunis was responsible for
the Lightning Brigade, a commando unit regarded as the most feared in the
Officials acknowledged that Yunis never won the trust of most of the
rebel movement. But they added that the movement has been divided by both
tribes as well as those suspected of maintaining links to the Tripoli
"What's important is that they work both diligently and transparently to
ensure the unity of the Libyan opposition," U.S. State Department spokesman
Mark Toner said.