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Friday, April 15, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Qatar trains anti-Gadhafi rebels in use
of anti-tank weapons

CAIRO — Qatar's military has begun training the rebel movement that seeks to topple Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.


Libyan rebels said Qatar's military has sent instructors to the western portion of the North African country to prepare combat units. They said the instructors were focusing on the use of anti-tank weapons skills to enable the rebels to stop Gadhafi's offensive.

"The Qataris are teaching us how to use anti-tank and other weapons," Libyan rebel commander Abdul Fatah Yunis said.

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So far, Qatar has been the only Arab League state to be providing military training and support to the Libyan rebels. The rebels were also believed to be receiving aid from neighboring Egypt, Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

The rebels said the Qatari military instructors arrived in Libya in April. They said Qatar, which has contributed 12 combat aircraft for the NATO no-fly zone over Libya, was also helping market crude oil exports by the rebels.

Qatar was expected to be joined by other weapons suppliers to the rebels, based in Benghazi. The rebels said they were discussing military supplies with several countries deemed friendly.

"I don't think there will be a problem getting weapons," Libyan rebel spokesman Abdul Hafez Ghoga said.

The rebels said they lack anti-tank and other heavy weapons meant to stop Gadhafi's armored drive toward Benghazi and other rebel-held cities. They said NATO air attacks have held off the estimated 20,000 troops loyal to Gadhafi and armed with main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, rockets and mortars.

"We don't want foreign troops on the ground, just aid," Ghoga said.

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