Areas now controlled by jihadists since U.S. deposed Gadhafi
A gasoline depot in Tripoli set ablaze during the 2011 war
TEL AVIV – In the aftermath of the jihadist massacres in France, much of the international focus has been on Yemen, Iraq and Syria as the planning and training centers for al-Qaida and ISIS.
However, lost in the much of the Western discussion has been the central threat located in Libya, where al-Qaida groups maintain bases and where the ISIS has been growing in strength.
Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND say Libya is quickly taking the place of Yemen as a main headquarters for some of the world’s most dangerous international terrorist organizations.
The U.S. and NATO in 2011 deposed the regime of Moammar Gadhafi, providing vast quantities of weaponry to rebels there. Some of the weapons reportedly fell into the hands of terrorist organizations. Islamic extremists control large swaths of Libya.
On Monday, Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani warned in an interview that if the international community does not act soon, his country could become a dangerous haven for jihadists targeting Europe.
“The international community must co-operate with Libya to put an end to extremism and terrorism and help government institutions, namely the army, by lifting the arms embargo,” Thani said, referring to a U.N. Security Council ban on arms to Libya.
Currently, an Islamist-led coalition largely controls Tripoli. The group, known as Fajr Libya, also occupies the city of Misrata, while the al-Qaida-inspired Ansar al-Sharia is said to dominate Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city.
“The international community classified Ansar al-Sharia as a terrorist organization, and it is leading an international coalition to crush such groups in Iraq and Syria,” said Thani.
He said that in Libya, however, the government and armed forces “are battling these groups alone, without any support from the international community.”
Written by AARON KLEIN
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