US Captures Al-Qaeda Leader in Libya

According to Al-Jazeera:

“A senior Libyan Al-Qaeda figure wanted by the United States for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa has been captured by American forces, according to officials and the suspect’s brother.

“Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, known by his alias Anas al-Liby, was parked outside his house in Tripoli early Saturday following dawn prayers, when personnel in three vehicles encircled him, smashed his car’s window and seized his gun before grabbing him and fleeing, al-Liby’s brother Nabih told the Associated Press. The AP identified those involved in the action as members of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force unit.

“The U.S. government later confirmed the arrest.

“As the result of a U.S. counterterrorism operation, Abu Anas al-Liby is currently lawfully detained by the U.S. military in a secure location outside of Libya,” Department of Defense Press Secretary George Little said in a statement. The Pentagon declined to provide further specific information regarding the operation.

“The capture ends a 15-year manhunt for the 49-year-old, who was listed on the FBI’s most wanted list. It also opens the way for criminal proceedings against him to take place in the U.S.”

Libyan Government Demands Explanation After U.S. Raid

“According to the New York Times, ‘A day after American commandos carried out raids in two African countries aimed at capturing fugitive terrorist suspects, Libya’s interim government on Sunday demanded an explanation from Washington for what it called the “kidnapping” of a Libyan suspect.

“‘As soon as it heard the reports, the Libyan government contacted the United States authorities to demand an explanation’ for ‘the kidnapping of a Libyan citizen,’ the government said in a statement.

“The demand appeared to contradict the statements of American officials on Saturday that the Libyan government had played some role in the seizure of Abu Anas.

“His capture signaled a drastic break with Washington’s previous reluctance to send American Special Operations forces into Libya to capture wanted terrorists or suspects in the deadly attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi in 2012. The United States government had refrained from such interventions for fear of setting off a backlash that could destabilize or overwhelm Libya’s fledgling transitional government, which is still struggling to muster a viable national police force or military.

“But American officials have now apparently run out of patience, potentially signaling a new willingness to try to apprehend suspects in the Benghazi attack, as well. “

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