Belfast Telegraph

Gaddafi 'in £1m gift to dissidents just before his ousting'

By Deborah McAleese

Deposed Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi sent more than £1m in cash to dissident republicans so they could buy weapons before he was forced into hiding, it has been claimed.

Gaddafi had resumed his funding of republican terrorists shortly before he was ousted from power, sparking alarm among the security forces, according to a documentary to be screened tonight.

The programme claims that a Libyan government courier flew into London earlier this year with $2m (£1.3m) for a businessman, believed to be a supporter of a dissident republican cell.

Exposure, a new ITV documentary series, claims that Gaddafi wanted to exploit the growing unrest in Northern Ireland in a bid to attack Britain for supporting the overthrowing of his regime.

He did the same during the height of the Troubles, financially supporting the IRA’s campaign.

The programme’s producers were allegedly told by an MI6 source that in June the Libyan courier flew into London carrying a suitcase containing banknotes wrapped in plastic.

It was around this time that Gaddafi’s forces were being targeted by regular Nato bombing raids.

After arriving in London, the courier allegedly hid out in a property owned by the Gaddafi family in the upmarket Knightsbridge area.

An MI6 official told the programme: “Security forces fear that the dissidents are growing and gaining support and that new cash from Gaddafi would help them restock with more weapons.”

The security situation in Northern Ireland remains “severe” as dissident republicans continue their terror campaign. It is no secret that the groups have been upping their fundraising efforts across Europe and the Atlantic.

Tonight’s documentary examines Gaddafi's support for republican terrorists and investigates the danger of his legacy.

Gaddafi sent shiploads of weapons to the IRA in the 1970s. The first shipments were delivered around 1972 following visits by former IRA chief, the late Joe Cahill.

Semtex explosive provided by Gaddafi enabled the IRA to construct small but deadly bombs which ripped through vehicles and shredded intended targets, or were used to trigger large quantities of fertiliser-based explosives.

Exposure will be shown on ITV1 at 10.30pm tonight.

Background

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi sent shiploads of weapons to the IRA during the Troubles. A new documentary due to be screened tonight claims that the ousted Libyan leader had resumed his funding of republican terrorists shortly before going into hiding.

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