Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda's number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG
and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The National Guard, headed by the former LIFG
deputy leader, Khaled al-Sharif, absorbed more than 30 brigades, mostly from the west and southwest.
In an online audio recording, posted in November 2007, Al Qaeda's then number two Ayman Al Zawahiri announced that the LIFG
had joined forces with his group.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the LIFG
, Tunisian Combat Group, and TIF were effectively suppressed by the Qaddafi and Ben Ali regimes.
members carried out a failed assassination attempt against Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi in 1996.
Established in 1990, the LIFG
was modelled along the lines of the Egyptian al-Jihad organisation: secretive, elitist, paramilitary, and aiming to topple the Qadhafi regime.
The Qaddafi Foundation chose our interview subjects from 88 low- and mid-level LIFG
members who were released in October after signing a document called "Corrective Studies" blasting Al Qaeda's tactics and renouncing violence against noncombatants.
The court heard that LIFG
was not proscribed as a terrorist organisation until after the three were arrested in October 2005.
President George Bush placed LIFG
on his list of terrorist organisations in 2004.
The growing influence of the LIFG
and the vast unpatrolled deserts of northern Africa make the region a potential al Qaeda stronghold.
Nasuf denied he was a member of the LIFG
when the initial allegations were made by the US authorities.
Shortly thereafter, Tripoli insisted that al Qaeda had inspired and financed the LIFG