Libya arrests Qataris at Benghazi airport

The six arrested Qataris, who carried almost $146,000, tried to board a plane to Turkey using forged Libyan passports

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Libyan police arrested six Qataris at Benghazi airport on Saturday as they tried to board a plane to Turkey using forged Libyan passports and carrying almost $146,000, Reuters reported airport security sources as saying.

Western diplomats in Libya worry that Benina airport in the eastern city of Benghazi is being used by Islamists to travel to Turkey in order to join anti-government rebels in Syria.

Libyans do not need a visa for Turkey, which is linked to Benghazi by daily flights. Security is often lax at the small airport.

The six men were held as they were about to board a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul from where they had an onward booking to the Qatari capital Doha, one airport source said.

Five of the men were definitively of Qatari origin, while the sixth was suspected of being Qatari, the source said.

They had no checked in luggage but carried 180,000 Libyan dinars ($146,000), the officials said.

They were no more details immediately available.

On Thursday, Libyan Thursday to elect a constitutional panel to draft a new constitution across most of the North African country, however violence prevented the process in four regions in the south and one in the east.

Electoral commission chief Nuri al-Abbar told reporters Friday that those deprived of voting due to violence in the eastern region of Derna and the southern areas of Sebha, Oubari, Murzak and Kufra would be able to cast their ballots on Wednesday.

Only a third of Libya’s 3.4 million eligible voters bothered to register compared with more than 2.7 million in 2012 when the first free elections were held in the aftermath of the uprising that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

(With Reuters and AFP)