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Captured Libyan Al Qaeda Leader 'No Longer in Libya'

Abu Anas al-Liby is considered “a major prize,” and is alive in American custody. Libya wants explanations.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 10/6/2013, 7:32 PM

Abu Anas al-Liby
Abu Anas al-Liby
Reuters

Libya’s interim government on Sunday demanded an explanation from the US for what it called the “kidnapping” of a Libyan citizen.

On Saturday, American troops assisted by F.B.I. and C.I.A. agents seized Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, known as Abu Anas al-Liby, a suspected leader of Al Qaeda, on the streets of Tripoli, Libya.

Abu Anas was indicted in 2000 for his role in the 1998 bombings of the United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and had a $5 million bounty on his head.

The raid coincided with a Navy SEAL attack on the seaside villa of an Al Shabaab leader in Somalia. That raid failed to capture the senior Islamist terrorist, nor was it clear if he had been killed - although several Al Shabaab members were, according to an official.

The New York Times said that Abu Anas was considered “a major prize,” and reported that officials said he was alive in American custody. “While the details about his capture were sketchy, an American official said on Saturday night that it appeared he had been taken peacefully and that he was 'no longer in Libya,'” the Times reported.

On Sunday, Libya’s government called for more information regarding the American operation.

“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.