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JIHADISTS ON THE REBEL’S FRONT LINE IN LIBYA

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Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, A Libyan rebel leader, has said, on Wednesday 04/20/2011, jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Moammar Gadhafi‘s regime.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, al-Hasidi admitted 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.”

Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of Al Qaeda 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” (see – MEAST NIGHTMARE). Al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against “the foreign invasion” in Afghanistan, before being “captured in 2002 in Peshawar, in Pakistan”. He was later handed over to the USA and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.

USA and British government sources said al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996.

On 11/03/2007 As-Sahab, Al Qaeda’s media arm, posted in the web a 28 minutes audio speech, in which Al Qaeda acting leader, Ayman Al Zawahiri, presented Abu Laith al-Libi as the leader of the Libyan  Al Qaeda’s wing and declared that the “Honorable members of the Libya Islamic Fighting Group announce that they are joining the Al Qaeda group to continue the march of their brothers”. (See –LIBYAN GROUP). In 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinjar showed LIFG members made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, Al Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of “the stage of Islam” in the country (see – Footage 04.14.11). British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned Al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for “Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya” had “shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese.”

Also on Wednesday Libya’s rebel Transitional National Council head Mustafa Abdel Jalil, two months ago still the right hand of Moammar Gadhafi and his minister of Justice,  invited President Nicolas Sarkozy to visit the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, after talks with the French leader in Paris.
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