Al-Qaida building network in eastern Libya

Dec. 30, 2011 at 8:25 AM

TRIPOLI, Libya, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida leaders are mobilizing forces in eastern Libya, a source told CNN.

The source said al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri dispatched a veteran fighter to Libya in May to recruit fighters in the region near the Egyptian border.

He is believed to have mobilized some 200 people to join al-Qaida's efforts, CNN said Friday.

Western intelligence agencies have been concerned for some time about the potential for Islamist extremists to gain a foothold in Libya after the fall of former leader Moammar Gadhafi. CNN said militant groups have long been present in eastern Libya, although they were suppressed by Gadhafi's regime.

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