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06 October 2013

Libya needs explanation after commandos capture al-Qa’ida leader in Tripoli raid.

The Libyan Prime Minister has demanded an explanation after US military forces “kidnapped” a prominent al-Qa’ida leader in Tripoli in one of two morning anti-terror raids.

Troops described by witnesses as “commandos” seized al-Qa’ida’s Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, known by his alias Anas al-Libi, outside his home following morning prayers.
Just hours earlier, a team of Navy Seals - reportedly from the same unit that assassinated Osama Bin Laden - failed in an attempt to capture an al-Shabaab leader in Somalia.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the two operations against militants in north Africa sent a message that terrorists “can run but they can't hide”.

 And while the Somalia raid was carried out with the cooperation of that country’s government, the office of Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan issued a public denial amid fears of an Islamist backlash.
“The Libyan government is following the news of the kidnapping of a Libyan citizen who is wanted by US authorities,” the statement read. “The Libyan government has contacted US authorities to ask them to provide an explanation.”
The 49-year-old computer specialist Libi has been one of the FBI’s most wanted international criminals for more than a decade, because of his suspected involvement in the 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa, and had a $5 million bounty on his head.
Libi’s brother, Nabih, told reporters the suspected terrorist's wife watched on from a window as the kidnapping happened.
The man was parking his car following morning prayers when three vehicles approached, penning him in. Armed Special Forces operatives then smashed the car’s window, took Libi’s gun and bundled him into one of their vehicles before fleeing.

Both US military officials and Islamist militia sources have confirmed the raid, with the former saying that Libi is now being lawfully detained at a secure location outside Libya.
The operation came after a similar assault in Somalia met with considerably greater resistance and had to be aborted.
The Pentagon confirmed its military personnel had been involved in a mission against what it called “a known al-Shabaab terrorist” in Somalia. He was named by a Somali intelligence official as Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr.
An official said the target was neither captured nor killed, after a heavy gun battle between Navy Seals and militants in which seven people died, according to police in the country.
Somali officials said the man was a Chechen commander and suffered wounds in the attack, while a proud spokesman for al-Shabaab was quoted in the New York Times as saying one of its fighters died but the group had beaten back the assault.

Whereas the capture of al-Libi comes in response to the bombing of US diplomatic missions in Kenya and Tanzania on 7 August 1998, which killed 224 people, the failed al-Shabaab raid was a direct reaction to the Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi last month.
Mr Kerry, speaking at an economic summit in Bali, vowed that the US would “continue to try to bring people to justice in an appropriate way with hopes that ultimately these kinds of activities against everybody in the world will stop”.
“We hope that this makes clear that the United States of America will never stop in the effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror,” he said. “Members of al-Qa’ida and other terrorist organizations literally can run but they can't hide.”


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