Libyan rebel commander admits fighting both for and against US-troops
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, admitted that he had recruited "around 25" men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq.
Mr al-Hasidi also 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. |
US and British government sources said Mr 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. Even though the LIFG is not part of the al-Qaeda organisation, the United States military's West Point academy has said the two share an "increasingly co-operative relationship". 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.
His revelations came after 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".