Libyan Rebel Leader Reaches Out to Israel

Thursday, 25 Aug 2011 08:20 AM

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A rebel spokesman who is a member of the new Libya’s emerging leadership is making a somewhat unexpected call for support from none other than the Jewish state of Israel.

“We are asking Israel to use its influence in the international community to end the tyrannical regime of [Moammar] Gadhafi and his family," Haaretz  quoted Ahmad Shabani as saying.

“Libya needs any help it can get from the international community, including from Israel,” said Shabani, the founder of Libya's Democratic Party and the son of a former cabinet minister who served under Libya’s King Idris.

Shabani’s family fled Libya after the king was deposed in 1969, settling in London, where Ahmad was educated.

Contrary to Gadhafi’s claims that al-Qaida was working with the rebels, Shabani said al-Qaida activists, including Libyans as well as foreigners, have been working with Gadhafi. Israeli intelligence notes that weapons have been smuggled from Libya to the Gaza Strip since the Libyan uprising began.

The opposition hopes to end the smuggling, Shabani said.

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