Libyan militant leader denies connection to Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda

Ahram Online, Tuesday 28 Jan 2014

The head of a Libyan militant group who detained and released in Cairo, denies charges of connections to Islamist groups banned in Egypt

Egyptian embassy in Libya(Photo: Reuters)

Shabaan Hadia, a Libyan commander detained in Cairo and released after the kidnapping of Egyptian diplomats, denied accusations against him before heading back to Libya.

Hadia is a leader of a militant group known as the Operations Room of Libya's Revolutionaries. He was detained in Cairo on Friday on charges of links to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group banned in Egypt, and for coordinating with al-Qaeda.

A group of five Egyptian diplomats were kidnapped in the Libyan capital Tripoli in retaliation for Hadia's arrest. The diplomats, one of them abducted on Friday and the rest taken from their homes on Saturday, were freed on Sunday.

Egyptian authorities evacuated its embassy and consulate after the attack and released Hadia as the diplomats were freed.

Hadia told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper Tuesday before leaving Cairo back to his country that charges against him were baseless. He said the visit to Cairo had no relation to Egypt's internal or political affairs, but rather to complete a master's program.

Hadia also described the abduction of diplomats as a "barbaric act" and his group denied any relation to it.

Libyan militias, often formed from rebels who fought Moammar Gaddafi's forces in 2011, have gained power and have often remained more loyal to their brigades, tribal leaders and local regions than to the national Libyan government.

Libyan ambassador to Cairo Faez Gebril also denied any relation of Hadia to the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda ,accusing forces loyal to Gaddafi of attempting to spread chaos. 

Nearly 1.6 million Egyptians live in Libya.

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