Reports: U.S. Captures Al-Qaida Leader In Libya Raid
An al-Qaida leader indicted in the United States for coordinated 1998 attacks on two U.S. embassies in East Africa was captured on Saturday in a daytime military raid in Libya, according to several published and broadcast reports.
The suspect, known as Abu Anas al Libi, was captured in a daytime raid near the capital of Tripoli, The New York Times reported.
Al Libi "was captured alive near Tripoli in a joint operation by the United States military, the C.I.A. and the F.B.I., and was in American custody, a United States official said," the Times reported. "His capture was the latest grave blow to what remains of the original Qaeda organization after a 12-year-old American campaign to capture or kill its leadership, including the killing two years ago of its founder, Osama Bin Laden, in a compound in Pakistan."
CNN also reported the capture of al Libi, whose given name is Nazih Abd al Hamid al-Ruqhay, and said he could face trial in the United States. The U.S. government had posted a $5 million reward on the capture of al Libi, who it claims played a key role in the Aug. 7, 1998, truck bomb attacks on U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.
The attacks killed 224 people, 12 of them Americans, and injured more than 4,000. In response, President Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes on al Qaida training camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, which bin Laden was believed to use to make chemical weapons.
Reuters cited unnamed U.S. officials in reporting the capture. The Associated Press quoted relatives of al Libi saying that he had been "kidnapped" in Tripoli by unknown attackers.
The Times reported that the raid involved the U.S. military, the CIA and the FBI. It said the suspect was not believed to have been involved in the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Around the same time of the U.S. raid on Libya, a Navy SEAL team reportedly was on the ground in Somalia in an effort to capture a member of the militant group al-Shabab, believed to be behind the attack on a Nairobi, Kenya, mall two weeks ago. As of Saturday night, the outcome of that raid was not clear.