Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against 'the foreign invasion' in Afghanistan
By Praveen Swami, Nick Squires and Duncan Gardham5:00PM GMT 25 Mar 2011
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited "around 25" men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are "today are on the front lines in Adjabiya".
Even though the LIFG is not part of the al-Qaeda organisation, the United States military's West Point academy has said the two share an "increasingly co-operative relationship".
- In 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinjar, showed LIFG members made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia.
- Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of "the stage of Islam" in the country.
- British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for "Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya" had "shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese"