http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19638582INTERVIEW-Libyan brigade warns of "inferno" if U.S. intervenes
A Libyan Salafi group which has denied it was involved in a deadly assault on the American consulate in Benghazi said on Tuesday Libya would turn into "an inferno for U.S. troops" if the U.S. military retaliated.
Yousef Jehani, a senior member of Ansar al-Sharia, told Reuters that the armed group, which espouses an austere form of Islam, wanted to avoid confrontation but was ready for a showdown if Washington acted "foolishly".
Any U.S. military intervention could push Libyans to wage a holy war, or "jihad", to defend their nation, said Jehani, whose group is a powerful force in Benghazi, a stronghold for Islamists and cradle of the revolution which toppled Muammar Gaddafi last year.
"If one U.S. soldier arrives, not for the purpose of defending the embassy, but to repeat what happened in Iraq or Afghanistan, be sure that all battalions in Libya and all Libyans will put aside all their differences and rally behind one goal of hitting America and Americans," Jehani said.
Meeting Mohammad Ali al-Zahawi of Libyan Ansar al-ShariaMr Zahawi confirmed in the interview that his brigade had demolished and desecrated Sufi shrines in Benghazi, which they regard as idolatrous.
"It is a religious duty to remove these shrines because people worship the deceased and this is prohibited. It is not me who says so but rather our religion."Crazy nutbags. This group needs to be dismantled and the leaders need to be in prison now.Mr Zahawi believes that the United States has an agenda.
The US consulate in Benghazi was set on fire last week, killing Ambassador Stevens "Make no mistake, there is a massive American onslaught on Muslim countries. The crusaders want to occupy our countries and act as our guardians. They do not respect our sovereignty," he said.
His brigade was not linked to al-Qaeda though he thoroughly approves of its strategy, he said.
"Al-Qaeda's strategy is aimed at weakening US hegemony on the Muslim nation," he said.
Asked what he thinks of recent statements made by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mr Zahawi said: "Such statements are a wake-up call for Muslims.
"They help galvanise the Muslim nation, maintain its dignity and pride.
"Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri is keen on safeguarding Muslim rights."
Mr Zahawi reiterated his brigade was not behind the attack on 12 September on the US consulate in Benghazi.
But he stopped short of condemning the death of the US ambassador.
"Do you think that the killing of the US ambassador is more heinous than the several insults made about the Prophet, peace be upon him?" he asked.