Al-Qaida desert refuge

Associated Press
The Ottoman-era fortress overlooking Sebha, Libya on Sept. 22, 2014, which is often fought over by rival militias. In the rocky mountains and dune-covered wastes of southwestern Libya, al-Qaida's North African branch has established a haven and is now restocking weapons and mining disaffected minorities for new recruits as it prepares to relaunch attacks. (AP/Paul Schemm).

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In the rocky mountains and dune-covered wastes of southwestern Libya, al-Qaida's North African branch has established a haven after French and West African forces drove them out of their fledgling Islamic state in northern Mali a year ago.

Now, according to interviews with local soldiers, residents, officials and Western diplomats, it is restocking weapons and mining disaffected minorities for new recruits as it prepares to relaunch attacks.

It's an al-Qaida pattern seen around the world, in hot spots such as Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and increasingly here in North Africa: seemingly defeated, the terror network only retreats to remote areas, regroups and eventually bounces back — pointing to the extreme difficulties involved in stamping out the threat. (AP)

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