JAKARTA — After separate raids by U.S. military forces in Libya and Somalia, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has repeated America’s commitment to pursuing wanted terrorists, saying they "can run, but can’t hide."
In operations thousands of kilometers apart on the African continent, U.S. military forces sought to capture two wanted terrorists on Saturday.
U.S. officials confirm that a top al-Qaida member was detained in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, while U.S. Navy SEALs withdrew under gunfire from a raid in the Somali town of Barawe.
Commenting on the operations during his visit to the APEC summit on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, Kerry said the U.S. would continue efforts to bring known terrorists to justice.
“We hope this makes clear that the United States of America will never stop in its effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror," Kerry said. "Those members of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations literally can run but they can't hide. We will continue to try to bring people to justice in an appropriate way with hopes that ultimately these kinds of activities against everybody in the world will stop.''
The al-Qaida man captured in Libya, Abu Anas al Libi, has been wanted for 15 years for his alleged involvement in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. The bombings in Kenya and Tanzania killed 224 people.
The U.S. government had posted a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.
The raid has been hailed as a success by counterterrorism analysts and opens up the possibility that Libi could face trial in the U.S. The Pentagon says he is currently detained by the U.S. military in what it described only as a secure location outside of Libya.
In the other raid, in Somalia, U.S. Navy SEALS targeted a leader of al-Shabab, believed to be behind last’s month mall siege in Kenya.
Describing the target only as “a known al-Shabab terrorist,” U.S. officials did not identify the man they failed to apprehend.
The Pentagon confirmed the involvement of American troops in the operation but did not provide any further details, saying only that no U.S. personnel were wounded or killed.
Al-Shabab - a group that aims to make Somalia an Islamic caliphate - was declared a foreign terrorist organization by Washington in 2008.