Libyan security officials say gunmen have shot dead an air force colonel as he left his home in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Adel al-Tawahi supervised the process of sending the initial airplanes that targeted Muammar Gaddafis' convoy in August, 2011, as the former Libyan leader fled his hometown, Sirte. Gaddafi was killed on the same day. 

The officials said Colonel al-Tawahi from Benghazi's Beninah air base died instantly when he was shot in the chest and head on Thursday.

The motive for the slaying was not immediately clear. 

The colonels' killing was the latest in a spate of assassinations in Benghazi. The killings are blamed on militiamen who fought against Gaddafi's forces but now operate outside state control.

Air force personnel from Beninah base joined rebel ranks during the early days of the 2011 uprising that toppled Gaddafi.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies