WFB’s Bill Gertz Goes on Fox to Discuss Story on al-Qaeda Link to Syrian Rebels

• August 29, 2013 10:24 am


Washington Free Beacon senior editor Bill Gertz appeared on Fox and Friends Thursday to discuss his story about al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Benghazi who are training foreign jihadists to fight with Syria’s Islamist rebels.

"It's a huge problem," Gertz said. "In the case of Syria, what's happening now is al-Qaeda realizes that the Syrian battle ground is becoming the new front in their jihad."

Gertz said it was clear to him that the Obama administration's main focus right now is trying to punish the Assad regime.

"They clearly want to make the connection that the Assad regime is responsible for the recent chemical weapons attacks near Damascus," he said. "That seems to be driving it. I don't think there's a large consideration for whether or not this will help the rebels and specifically the Islamist rebels."

Gertz reported Wednesday:

Ansar al-Sharia, the al Qaeda-affiliated militia that U.S. officials say orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound and a CIA facility in Benghazi, is running several training camps for jihadists in Benghazi and nearby Darnah, another port city further east, said officials who discussed some details of the camps on condition of anonymity.

The officials said the terror training camps have been in operation since at least May and are part of a network that funnels foreign fighters to Syrian rebel groups, including the Al-Nusra Front, the most organized of the Islamist rebel groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus.

The officials said the jihadist training is a clear indication that Ansar al-Sharia continues to conduct terrorist activities and is linked to jihadists in both Syria and North Africa.