Libya rebels deny arms sold to Algeria hostage-takers
Libya's ex-rebels from the town of Zintan denies an Algiers newspaper report of having sold arms to Islamists who seized an Algerian gas plant last week.
TRIPOLI - Libya's former rebels from the town of Zintan on Thursday denied an Algiers newspaper report of having sold arms to Islamists who seized an Algerian gas plant last week.
"We deny the information published by the Algerian newspaper Echorouk accusing Zintan revolutionaries of having sold weapons used by terrorists" at the In Amenas plant, said the military council of Zintan, southwest of Tripoli.
The "security of sister Algeria is inseparable from the security of Libya," it said, condemning "the terrorist attack that targeted the interests and security of the Algerian people."
Fighters from Zintan who fought the forces of Moamer Kadhafi in 2011 were among the first rebel groups to enter Tripoli in August of that year and seized a large military arsenal abandoned by troops of the former dictator.
Algerian daily reported Wednesday that "the first interrogations of the three terrorists captured by security services have revealed that rebels in Zintan were behind the sale of the arms used against the gas plant."
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said last week after the siege ended in a bloodbath that three attackers had been captured during the operation launched by Algerian special forces against the Islamists.
Echorouk said the head of the hostage-takers, Algerian Islamist Mohamed Lamine Bencheneb, killed in the firefight, had negotiated with Libyan rebels the purchase of Kalashnikov assault rifles at $600 each and rockets for $800.
On Tuesday, a source close to Libyan extremists said that the hostage-takers had received "logistical support" from Libyan Islamists.
The source did not give details.
Algeria has said 37 foreigners of eight different nationalities and an Algerian were killed in the four-day siege of the In Amenas complex, which ended on Saturday in a rescue operation by security forces.