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Kerry: Al-Qaida Operative's Capture in Libya 'Legal'

  • VOA News

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bali, Indonesia, Oct. 5, 2013.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bali, Indonesia, Oct. 5, 2013.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is defending the special forces raid to capture a senior al-Qaida operative in Libya, saying the operation was "legal and appropriate."

The Libyan government has asked the United States for clarification about what it called the "kidnapping" of Abu Anas al-Libi inside the African nation on Saturday.

Kerry said Monday on the sidelines of a regional summit in Indonesia that Libya's complaints are unfounded, and that Libi will go before a court of law.

The U.S. Defense Department says Libi has been transferred to a "secure location" outside Libya.

A U.S. court has charged Libi with involvement in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The attacks killed more than 200 people and wounded 5,000.

Abu Anas al-Libi

  • Born in Libya in 1964
  • Also known as Nazih Abd al Hamid al-Rughay
  • Granted political asylum in Britain in the 1990s
  • Joined al-Qaida by the 1990s
  • Indicted in New York for alleged involvement in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
  • Said to have conducted surveillance and photographed the embassy in Kenya
  • Was on FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list, with a $5 million reward for his capture
Hours before Libi's capture Saturday, U.S. special forces also raided a seaside base of al-Qaida's Somalia affiliate al-Shabab in east Africa.

U.S. officials said American Navy SEALs killed several Shabab militants in a firefight after coming ashore in the town of Barawe. They said the SEALs withdrew unharmed without capturing a Shabab leader they were targeting.

Kerry said Sunday the raids on al-Qaida targets in Libya and Somalia show the United States will "never stop" in its effort to hold people accountable for acts of terror. He also said al-Qaida militants "can run, but they can't hide."

One U.S. official told The New York Times that Washington planned the Somalia operation a week and a half ago in response to a Shabab assault on Westerners in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Last month's assault on the Westgate shopping mall killed more than 60 people.
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