Benghazi, 11 August:
Another senior army officer has been assassinated, in a drive-by shooting, as he left a Benghazi mosque after Friday prayers yesterday.
Brigadier-General Mohammed Hadiya Al-Fitouri was hit in a hail of bullets and died soon after. Fitouri, who was in charge of weapons storage in the Benghazi region, had been the target of an attempted kidnap a fortnight ago, which he escaped. Yesterday’s murder took place in the Fuwaihat district as Fitouri approached his car, which was waiting for him outside the mosque. The assassins were waiting for him in another car which, according to witnesses, had no number plates.
It is reported that the gunmen ordered a companion walking with the army officer, to step aside, saying they had no quarrel with him. They then called Fitouri an “infidel” before opening fire, apparently striking him with three bullets, in the leg, chest and head.
During the revolution, Fitouri defected from Qaddafi’s forces to join the rebels. Five days ago, another defector, former military intelligence Colonel Suleiman Bouzrida was shot twice in the head while walking to early morning prayers.
In an interview with Time Magazine on Thursday, outgoing Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Kib blamed the recent spate of assassinations on Qaddafi loyalists. However it is widely believed that jihadists are responsible for these killings and that they are working to a list of former officers and officials from the old regime. The finger of blame for the deadly violence has been pointed at Ansar Sharia extremists. [/restrict]