Noman Benotman
Noman Benotman (1967-) was the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a branch of al-Qaeda. Later, he turned against terrorism, urging other LIFG members to give up violence; as a former jihadist, Benotman has been used as a source in several documentaries about Islamic terrorism.


Noman Benotman was born in 1967, coming from a wealthy Tripolitania family whose land, houses, factories, and buildings were confiscated by the Libyan Arab Republic's dictator Muammar Gaddafi. In the 1980s he fought in the Soviet-Afghan War against the Soviet Union while they were fighting the Mujahideen and Arab volunteers, and Benotman later returned home with the knowledge that guerrilla warfare could bring down a nation as powerful as the USSR. In 1995 he founded the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), fighting against the Gaddafi dictatorship. Several assassination attempts on Gaddafi failed, and many LIFG members were captured and held at the Abou Sleem prison, where many were also killed. Osama bin Laden helped the LIFG in acquiring weapons, and after the 11 September 2001 9/11 attacks on the United States, America and the United Kingdom declared the LIFG a terrorist group due to their al-Qaeda connections. In 2007 he mediated with the government of Libya and later left for the United Kingdom after renouncing terrorism, and in 2010 he wrote a letter to Osama bin Laden, pleading for him to stop the violence against innocent civilians. Benotman achieved British citizenship and arranged for the release of some of his former LIFG comrades from prison. Afterwards, Benotman appeared as an expert on terrorism due to being a former jihadist, and he was invited to several programs such as a documentary on the hunt for Bin Laden from 1992 to 2011.