Libya: WikiLeaks Cables Warn of Extremist Beliefs
It continues: "Citing conversations with relatives, xxxxxxxxxxxx said the unemployed, disfranchised young men of eastern Libya 'have nothing to lose' and are therefore 'willing to sacrifice themselves' for something greater than themselves by engaging in extremism in the name of religion.
"'Their lives mean nothing and they know it, so they seek to give meaning to their existence through their deaths'."
Another confidential cable to Washington from the US embassy in Tripoli in June 2008 described Derna as a "wellspring" of insurgent fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq.
The cable quoted a resident as saying that while "not everyone likes the bearded ones" (a reference to conservative imams), "it's jihad – it's our duty, and you're talking about people who don't have much else to be proud of".
The cable continues: "Referring to actor Bruce Willis' character in the action picture "Die Hard", who stubbornly refused to die quietly, he said many young men in Derna viewed resistance against Qadhafi's regime and against coalition forces in Iraq as an important last act of defiance."