En av opprørslederne i Libya, Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, innrømmer at noen av hans menn tidligere har kjempet mot amerikanerne i Irak.
Spørsmålet er blitt reist om hvem opprørerne er, og om de er til å stole på. Det er hevdet at lederne i feks. Benghazi er advokater, leger, lærere, dvs. representanter for de frie yrker.
Nå står Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi frem og innrømmer at hans menn er garvede jihadister. Han kjempet selv i Afghanistan mot amerikanerne og ble tatt til fange.
Avsløringen underbygger Hillary Clintons reservasjon før den militære intervensjonen om at USA ikke visste hvem opprørerne var.
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.
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.