A 2007 West Point study showed that the Benghazi-Darnah-Tobruk region in Libya was a world leader in Al Qaeda suicide bomber recruitment. (Mathaba)
The leader of the Libyan rebel forces fought against the US in Afghanistan until he was captured in 2002. He also admitted that his fighters have Al-Qaeda links.
The Telegraph reported:
Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25” men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.
Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.
His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, “including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries”.
Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against “the foreign invasion” in Afghanistan, before being “captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan”. He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.
More… Several of the rebel leaders remain anonymous. We have absolutely no idea who these fighters are that we are assisting.
Many commentators have voiced anxiety because of the mystery which surrounds the anti-Qaddafi transitional government which emerged at the beginning of March in the city of Benghazi, located in the Cyrenaica district of north-eastern Libya. This government has already been recognized by France and Portugal as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people. The rebel council seems to be composed of just over 30 delegates, many of whom are enveloped in obscurity. In addition, the names of more than a dozen members of the rebel council are being kept secret, allegedly to protect them from the vengeance of Qaddafi. But there may be other reasons for the anonymity of these figures…
…Almost one fifth of the foreign fighters entering Iraq across the Syrian border came from Libya, a country of just over 6 million people. A higher proportion of Libyans were interested in fighting in Iraq than any other country contributing mujahedin. Felter and Fishman point out: “Almost 19 percent of the fighters in the Sinjar Records came from Libya alone.