Tags: US | Libya | al-Qaida

US Counterterror Facility in Libya Now an al-Qaida Refuge

By    |   Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 11:19 PM

A camp on the Libya’s northern coast that was set up to train terrorist hunters has instead become a refuge for al-Qaida and other radicals, the Daily Beast reports.

The camp is run by a jihadist indicted in connection with the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

During the summer of 2012, U.S. Green Berets began updating facilities at a Libyan military base about 17 miles west of Tripoli with the goal of setting up a training center for Libyan special-operations counterterrorist forces.

The Libyan press has reported that the compound, known as “Camp 27,” is run by Ali Abu Bakr Tantoush, a longtime colleague of  Osama bin Laden.

In 2002, the United States and the United Nations identified Tantoush as part of al-Qaida’s support network.

Twelve years later,  he is “the chief of a training camp the U.S. and Libyan governments had hoped would train Libyan special operations forces to catch militants like Tantoush,” the Daily Beast reported.

Tantoush on Tuesday told Libyan television that he had no connection to the camp.

In the interview, Tantoush – who was indicted in 2000 for participating in al-Qaida’s August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania – claimed he has never been involved in  terrorist attacks, although he bragged about traveling to Libya on a fraudulent passport.

The United Nations has identified him as the head of the al-Qaida-linked Revival of Islamic Heritage Society in Peshawar, Pakistan.

“Tantoush has a long history from the Peshawar days of associating with senior al-Qaida leaders including Osama bin Laden. He has been involved in financing and facilitating al-Qaida activities, and he has had a longstanding relationship with Libyan jihadist groups,” according to Seth Jones of the  Rand Corporation.

A U.S. official said Camp 27 today is considered a “denied area,” – a location in Libya where U.S. forces would have to fight their way in. 

The militants’ takeover reportedly occurred in June 2013, when two rival militias stormed the training facility and captured  night-vision equipment, M-4 rifles, military vehicles, pistols and ammunition. No U.S. personnel were on base at the time, and the only soldiers defending the facility were Libyan locals.

Security in Libya today is so abysmal the country is regarded as “a major thoroughfare, the I-95, for foreign fighters into Syria from Africa,” a U.S. defense official said.

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A camp on the Libya’s northern coast that was set up to train terrorist hunters has instead become a refuge for al-Qaida and other radicals, the Daily Beast reports.
US, Libya, al-Qaida
413
2014-19-23
Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 11:19 PM
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