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Foreign fighters among jihadist ranks, Libya says

Local Libyan TV stations recently aired pictures and videos of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters arrested or killed in battles with the Libyan army in Benghazi.

The terrorists are reportedly from Syria, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt.

An Algerian ISIS fighter called Abu Younis Djilali Mansour was killed last month in the al-Hawari area of Benghazi, authorities said. His death was reported by Libya Herald December 15th.

Two days later, the spokesman for Libya’s House of Representatives told al-Arabiya that 20% of the fighters with local terror groups were foreigners.

Benghazi Medical Centre has already turned over to the Libyan army an official report with 40 passports of Ansar al-Sharia fighters holding various Arab nationalities killed in fighting.

“It has been reported that non-Libyan groups and elements are fighting alongside extremist groups in Libya, and that army forces led by General Haftar have already arrested and killed some of them,” said 43-year-old journalist Mahmoud Abdelmoula.

“Nonetheless, it is known that extremist groups are taking part in wars in several countries as they are cross-border groups that have links with Libyans who fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali and Syria, making us believe this news,” Abdelmoula continued. “All indications, including the way they fight and participate in wars, confirm that they serve cross-border extremist groups. Wars are even planned and managed by them.”

He also noted that the leaders of Ansar al-Sharia and the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries have “accused the state, army, police and the judiciary of kufr, and said that democracy and elections were kufr that must be eliminated”.

“We have ISIS and al-Qaeda under the name of Ansar al-Sharia, and both groups don’t believe in the national state or nationalism, and don’t have any problem with seeking the help of foreigners,” said al-Sadek Ben Ali, 42, an employee.

“Yes, there are foreign fighters, mostly from Tunisia, as shown from the video on storming the special operations troop camp. As to how they enter the country, it is done through human traffickers south of Jaghbub and Misrata and Mitiga airports,” he added.

Ben Ali said that “police helicopter pilot Col. al-Daghari was assassinated because he submitted a detailed report, supported by pictures, on places where those mercenaries are smuggled.”

“Libya has been transit land for training and arming extremists from North Africa, southern Europe, Africa and Asia,” said 38-year-old journalist Nasser Belhassen.

Belhassen went on to warn of jihadists returning home from the battlefields in the Levant: “At first, they were sent to Syria and Iraq through Turkey, but now there is reverse migration towards Libya to fight the army that started to tighten the noose on them.”

“The most famous training camps are located in Nawfaliya area near Sirte, and in Sabratha and Derna,” he added. “This is not secret intelligence, but confirmed information circulated by Western, Arab and local media.”

 

By Nadia Radwan.

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