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Libya frees Islamists close to Al-Qaeda

world Updated: Apr 09, 2008 10:47 IST

AFP
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Libya has freed 90 members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an Islamist group that Al-Qaeda hailed as a new affiliate last November, the Kadhafi Foundation headed by the son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi said on Tuesday.

"The dialogue opened with leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group .. Has resulted in the release of 90 members, which represents one third of the membership of this group," said the foundation headed by Seif al-Islam Kadhafi.

Al-Qaeda had announced in an audiotape posted on an Islamist website last November that the Libyan group had joined the jihadist network.

"The esteemed leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group have announced their allegiance to the Al-Qaeda network," Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri said in the recording.

The Libyan group was the second Islamist organisation in North Africa whose allegiance was claimed by Al-Qaeda after Algeria's Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat joined in January last year.