U.S. Captures al-Qaeda Leader in Libya

By:  Warren Mass
U.S. Captures al-Qaeda Leader in Libya

Al-Qaeda leader Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai — known by his alias, Anas al-Libi — has been captured in a raid in Tripoli, Libya.

Members of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force captured al-Qaeda leader Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai (shown in photo) — known by his alias, Anas al-Libi — in a raid in Tripoli, Libya, on October 5, reported the Indian newspaper, the Post. Al-Liby is under indictment in the United States for his alleged role in the August 7, 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.

Al-Libi had been on the FBI’s Most Wanted terrorists list since its inception on October 10, 2001. The State Department, through the Rewards for Justice Program, offered up to $5,000,000 for information about Al-Libi’s whereabouts.

On the same day as the raid in Libya, U.S. Navy SEALs carried out a pre-dawn strike against an al-Shabaab militant called “Ikrima,” whose real name is Abdikadar Mohamed Abdikadar, and al-Qaeda terrorists in Somalia. Al-Shabaab (“Party of the Youth”) is a Somalia-based organization with connections to al-Qaeda. On September 21, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility over Twitter for the Westgate Centre shootings in Nairobi, Kenya, claiming that its militants shot around 100 people in retaliation for the deployment of Kenyan troops in Somalia. However, that operation failed to capture its target.

Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking at the Asia-Pacific economic conference in Bali, Indonesia, said that the raids signaled the ongoing determination of the United States to bring terrorists to justice and sent the message that “members of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations literally can run but they can’t hide,” reported Fox News on October 6.

Fox also quoted from a statement released by Pentagon Press Secretary George Little: “On October 5, the Department of Defense, acting under military authorities, conducted an operation to apprehend longtime Al Qaeda member Abu Anas al Libi in Libya. He is currently lawfully detained under the law of war in a secure location outside of Libya. Abu Anas al Libi has been indicted in the Southern District of New York in connection with his alleged role in Al Qaeda's conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals and to conduct attacks against U.S. interests worldwide, which included Al Qaeda plots to attack U.S. forces stationed in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Somalia, as well as the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.”

Al-Libi reportedly is in custody aboard the USS San Antonio, an amphibious transport dock ship in the Mediterranean Sea, and will be transported to New York for prosecution.

A report in Britain’s Daily Mail on October 7 noted that after the 1998 embassy bombings, Al-Libi moved to Manchester, England, where he lived as a student. British police arrested Al-Libi as a terror suspect in 1999, but because he had erased his computer’s hard drive, Scotland Yard detectives could find no evidence to hold him. After he left, in May 2000, anti-terror police raided his flat and found a 180-page handwritten terror instruction book for al-Qaeda followers that was called the Manchester Manual.

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