FIGHTER

Former Jihadist Leads Libyan Rebels

Libyan rebels' Tripoli military commander Abdel Hakim Belhaj during an interview with CNN.

Abdel Hakim Belhaj fought among militant jihadists in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the late 1980s, but he’s since ditched his extremist views. Today, he’s one of the best rebel commanders in Libya, intent on ending Gaddafi’s reign and forming a democracy with the National Transitional Council. Belhaj negotiated his prison release with Gaddafi’s regime last year in return for denouncing al Qaeda and its jihad philosophy. But in a recent interview with CNN, he stressed that the LIFG was “not a terrorist organization” and that he was never affiliated with al Qaeda. "I am an ordinary citizen of Libya… a normal Muslim," he said.