Libya's Deputy Interior Minister Omar Khadrawi
A top security official insisted Wednesday that the Ministry of Interior has no evidence that there are elements from Al-Qaeda in Libya but he confirmed the presence of religious extremists in the country.
The Deputy Interior Minister Omar Khadrawi told Anadulo news agency that his ministry “does not have any evidence about the existence of elements from Al-Qaeda in the country.”
Khadrawi's assurance comes as a blunt contrast to recent reports in Western media that Al-Qaeda is making efforts to establish a base in Libya.
Khadrawi said “I cannot proof or disproof the existence of Al-Qaeda in Libya.”
This assessment by the Libyan Deputy Interior Minister has been indirectly confirmed by the US Accountability Review Board's (ARB) report on the September11 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
The board was established by the US State Department three months ago to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding the September 11, assault on the US Consulate.
The 39-page report did not conclude in any way that Al-Qaeda was behind the attack.
On December 21, Foreign Policy journal stated that “the report does not tell the public who is responsible for the assault itself. Clearly, all the questions have not been answered because we still don't know - or the administration won't say - who was behind this terrorist attack. The public deserves to know the full truth about al Qaeda-linked groups in Libya and why the local militias we depended on in Benghazi failed to protect the compound.”
“We do not deny the existence of extremist groups in Benghazi” he said, but “we do not have enough evidence to indict them.”
He added that the Ministry of Interior is working on “activating security institutions in Benghazi, collects information and deals with security concerns in the city.”
Speaking of the closure of southern Libyan borders against illegal immigrants, he said the Interior Ministry was coordinating with the Ministry of Defence in this regard.
Khadrawi had been a deputy minister for over a year when he took up his sensitive post in the transitional government of Abdurrahim El-Keeb. He is still in the post under the interim government of Dr Ali Zidan.