French Defense Minister: Groups from Mali Seeking ‘New Terrorist Hotbed’ in Libya

"Apparently in Libya there are attempts to constitute a new terrorist hotbed"

From Jamey Keaten, AP:  Terror groups ousted from Mali appear to be trying to set up a new haven in Libya, France’s defense minister said Monday, vowing to discuss ways of helping Tripoli improve its shaky security with U.S. officials later this week.

Jean-Yves Le Drian noted that there is common ground: both French and U.S. diplomatic outposts in Libya were hit by terror attacks.

French forces took a leading role in driving al-Qaida-linked rebels from their bases in northern Mali this year, and officials have expressed concern that Libya may be al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb’s next choice of sanctuary.

"Apparently in Libya there are attempts to constitute a new terrorist hotbed – `apparently,’ I weigh my words well – and there’s a Libyan state that exists, has institutions, and is appropriate to help to ensure its sovereignty over its territory," Le Drian told a group of American and British reporters ahead of his trips to London and Washington on Thursday and Friday. "It’s certain that we will talk about it. . . ."

French officials believe that some jihadists may have fled Mali along traditional drug and other contraband trafficking routes through Niger and into Libya. Le Drian did not answer a question about how many there are.  (photo: Joe Penney/Reuters)

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