|Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya)|
|Dates of operation||1995 - present|
|Motives||Establish an Islamic state in Libya|
The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) also known as Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya is the most powerful radical faction waging Jihad in Libya against Colonel Moammar al-Qadhafi. Shortly after the 9-11 attacks, LIFG was banned worldwide (as an affiliate of al-Qaeda) by the UN 1267 Committee.
LIFG was founded in the fall of 1995 by Libyans who had fought against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. It aims to establish an Islamic state in Libya and views the current regime as oppressive, corrupt and anti-Muslim, according to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. LIFG claimed responsibility for a failed assassination attempt against Qadhafi in February 1996, which was in part funded by MI6 according to David Shayler, and engaged Libyan security forces in armed clashes during the mid-to-late 1990s. They continue to target Libyan interests and may engage in sporadic clashes with Libyan security forces. They strongly deny any links with al-Qaeda and are keen to emphasize that LIFG has never carried out an attack outside Libya or against civilians.
On October 10, 2005, the United Kingdom's Home Office banned LIFG and fourteen other militant groups from operating in the UK. Under the United Kingdom's Terrorism Act 2000, being a member of a LIFG is punished by a 10-year prison term. The Financial Sanctions Unit of the Bank of England acting on behalf of HM Treasury issued the orders to freeze all their assets. The fourteen banned groups were:
Mohammed Benhammedi lived and worked in Liverpool at the time of the UN sanction against him. Sergey Zakurko, the father to his Lithuanian mistress was suspended from his job at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) for fear that the link could pose a security threat.
The "Summary of Evidence" from Mohammed Fenaitel Mohamed Al Daihani's Combatant Status Review Tribunal. states: "The Sanabal Charitable Committee is considered a fund raising front for the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group."
On 7 February 2006 the UN embargoed five specific LIFG members and four corporations, all of whom had continued to operate in England until at least October 2005. Those nine are in the following table; the accusations are according to the US State Department.
|Abd Al-Rahman Al-Faqih||عبد الرحمن الفقيه||Possibly the same person as the jihadist writer Abdul-Rahman Hasan. Wanted in Morocco in connection with the mass murders of 16 May 2003 in Casablanca.|
|Ghuma Abd'rabbah||غومه عبد الرباح||Trustee of the Sanabel terrorist charity, by which he transferred money and travel documents to terrorists abroad.|
|Abdulbaqi Mohammed Khaled||عبد الباقي محمد خالد||Trustee of the Sanabel terrorist charity; GIA affiliate.|
|Mohammed Benhammedi||محمد بن حامدي||Financier of LIFG.|
|Tahir Nasuf||طاهر ناصف||Previously of the Libyan GIA circle in the UK.|
|Sara Properties Limited||Source of some of Benhammedi's money.|
|Meadowbrook Investments Limited||Source of some of Benhammedi's money.|
|Ozlam Properties Limited||Source of some of Benhammedi's money.|
|Sanabel Relief Agency Limited||Alias SARA, a charity front by which LIFG transacted with other al-Qaeda components (including GICM) via its office in Kabul, prior to the fall of the Taliban.|
On April 9, 2008 Al Jazeera reported that Libya released at least over 90 members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. The Italian press agency Adnkronos International reported the release was due to the efforts of Sayf al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and leader of the charity Gaddafi International Foundation for Charity Associations. It reported that a third of the LIFG members Libya was holding were released.
"In November last year Noman Benotman, ex-head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group which is trying to overthrow the regime of Muammar Gadaffi, published a letter which asked Al-Qaeda to give up all its operations in the Islamic world and in the West, adding that ordinary westerners were blameless and should not be attacked."
Noman Benotman's letter to Zawahiri was published in Akhbar Libya (News) as an op-ed clarification in November 2007. The gist is that Al-Qaeda's efforts have been counterproductive and used as "subterfuge" by some Western countries' to extend their regional ambitions. These comments were first aired at a meeting in Kundahar in the summer of 2000.
A 2008 statement attributed to Ayman al-Zawahiri claims that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group has joined al-Qaeda. "Benotman fired back an open letter to Zawahiri questioning his credibility. "I questioned their idea of jihad ... directly you know. This is crazy, it is not Islamic and it's against the Sunni understanding of Islam," Benotman told CNN. Zawahiri chose not to respond. As late as this August Zawahiri's video statements included praise of LIFG leaders, in what may have been a desperate attempt to head off the condemnation he could see coming."
On July 10 2009 The Telegraph reported that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group had split with Al Qaeda. The Telegraph reported that senior Al Qaeda members Abu Yahya al-Libi and Abu Laith al-Libi were LIFG members.
In September 2009 a new "code" for jihad, a 417-page religious document entitled "Corrective Studies", was published after more than two years of intense and secret talks between incarcerated leaders of the LIFG and Libyan security officials.