TRIPOLI — Journalists who entered Libya illegally are considered "outlaws" and will be arrested unless they surrender to the authorities, the country's deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.
"There are journalists who entered illegally and we consider them as if they are collaborating with Al-Qaeda and as outlaws and we are not responsible for their security," said Khaled Khaim.
"They will be arrested unless they surrender to the authorities," he added.
Khaim said Libya -- which has been rocked by bloody anti-regime protests for the past week -- only allowed three media crews to enter the country, including correspondents for the US news network CNN.
"We have allowed crews from CNN, Al-Arabiya and BBC Arabic to enter Libya," he said.
"A CNN correspondent who entered illegally must link up wit his crew otherwise he will be arrested," he said without providing further details.
Earlier he told EU ambassadors in Tripoli that Al-Qaeda has set up an Islamic state in Derna, eastern Libya, headed by a former US prisoner at Guantanamo Bay.
However, residents in the city have told reporters there is no substance to these rumours, which they claim the Libyan government is sowing to "scare Europe."
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