Libyans flood our website as Middle East rebels vow to get their money back from gang of traveller thieves

LIBYANS have been logging on to the Sunday World website in their thousands to find out what happened their missing €200,000 destined for rebels fighting Colonel Gaddafi's regime.

Our story last week of a robbery at Mahdi al Harati's Dublin home, sent shockwaves across the North African country after we revealed the money had been nicked from his hot press. It was part of an undisclosed sum totalling several millions of euro the rebel has told Gardai he was given by an American intelligence agency.

Last week, our on-line site was inundated by 2,500 visits from Libya, more than 90 per cent of which were new visits. Bizarrely, hundreds also logged on for the first time from Tunisia, Germany and as far afield as Canada and Australia.


Our story went worldwide after we revealed that a gang of rogue Irish travellers is in the frame for the sensational robbery. It is understood Mahdi's Irish wife, Eftaima al Najar, first reported the robbery after she returned from hospital, where her child was being
treated, to discover the burglary. She told officers expensive jewellery had been taken along with the cash in €500 notes.

The couple has been living in Ireland for years and inquiries, which included an interview with Mahdi, confirmed Efatima's claims that the hot press cash had been stolen. Officers are believed to have quizzed Mahdi who told them he had travelled to France, the United States and Qatar the previous month and that representatives of an intelligence agency in the States had given him a significant amount of cash to help Libya's efforts to topple the tyrant. He confirmed that he had left two envelopes with his wife in case he was killed and took the rest of the cash to Libya.

BREAKING NEWS: How we told the story in last week’s Sunday World
Our website monitors were stunned when they saw the huge hit rate on in the middle of last week. Back in Ireland, the money trail is leading to the Rathkealer travellers, a number of whom have been using €500 notes. The traveller gang is known to have carried out dozens of burglaries across south Dublin in recent months, and to date, Gardai believe the gang happened upon the home of al-Harati and his wife by chance.

Al-Harati and his wife are cooperating fully with the investigation. The 37-year-old teaches Arabic in Dublin.

To view the original cover story, please click here!