TRIPOLI, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Libya's eastern-based army arrested 16 al-Qaida-linked foreign militants in the southern city of Kufra as they were trying to infiltrate into the country, said a statement late Saturday.
"The Counter-terrorism Department members managed to take down fighters of Al-Nusra Front with an ambush in the Kufra desert after they were trying to infiltrate the Libyan territories," the department of the army said in the statement.
The arrested militants are Syrian and Sudanese fighters involved in the Syrian war, it added.
According to the statement, preliminary investigations showed they were flown from Syria to Turkey, and then to Sudan and Libya.
"Initial investigations confirm that Turkey sends fighters to Sudan and then they are smuggled into Libya, specifically to Sirte, to join al-Qaeda in Libya which is known as the Shura Council of Fighters, and the Libyan Fighting Group and its political arm the Muslim Brotherhood," the statement revealed.
Al-Nusra Front is a Syrian terrorist branch of al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq. The group was formed in 2012 to fight against the Syrian regime.
In May 2013, the UN Security Council put Al-Nusra Front on the list of international sanctions of al-Qaeda entities and individuals.