News / Middle East

Al-Qaida Suspect's Capture Sparks Libyan Outrage

People hold posters of senior al Qaida figure Abu Anas al-Libi (L) during a demonstration over his capture by U.S. authorities, in Benghazi, Oct. 11, 2013.
People hold posters of senior al Qaida figure Abu Anas al-Libi (L) during a demonstration over his capture by U.S. authorities, in Benghazi, Oct. 11, 2013.
Libya remains in turmoil over last week’s brief kidnapping of the prime minister by Islamist militiamen, but that is not the only abduction roiling the country - there’s equal outrage over the snatching by American commandos of an al-Qaida suspect, a man his family says is innocent of terrorist crimes.

FILE - This file image from the FBI website shows Anas al-Libi, an al-Qaida leader connected to the 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa and wanted by the United States for more than a decade.FILE - This file image from the FBI website shows Anas al-Libi, an al-Qaida leader connected to the 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa and wanted by the United States for more than a decade.
x
FILE - This file image from the FBI website shows Anas al-Libi, an al-Qaida leader connected to the 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa and wanted by the United States for more than a decade.
FILE - This file image from the FBI website shows Anas al-Libi, an al-Qaida leader connected to the 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa and wanted by the United States for more than a decade.
Libyan-born Abu Anas al-Libi has had a $5 million price on his head for more than a decade, and American officials have for years classified the 49-year-old as one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, claiming he was behind the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that left 224 civilians dead.

A week ago the manhunt ended when he was snatched by a U.S. Special Forces team as he was returning from dawn prayers to his home in a middle-class district of Tripoli. But his wife of 22 years, Umm Abdul Rahman, and his three sons insist he is innocent of any crimes, arguing he is a Libyan patriot, an easy-going husband and a kind father. “My husband was affiliated with al-Qaida a long time ago. But he was never a senior leader in al-Qaida. He was a member. But in 1996 he totally broke off with al-Qaida,” she explained.

Speaking with VOA in the family’s cramped two-bedroom apartment, Rahman said al-Libi went to Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight the Russians and gravitated to Osama bin Laden after he was badly wounded in 1988 in the battle for Jalalabad.

She said he became disillusioned with al-Qaida’s focus on American and Western targets, opting instead to join the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Islamist dissidents who tried for two decades to oust longtime Libyan dictator Colonel Moammar Gadhafi.  

“He broke off with al-Qaida for several reasons. But when he got to know the men at the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group they had a common vision, a common cause, a common enemy, which was the Gadhafi regime and they wanted to remove or overthrow this regime,” Rahman stated.

Al-Libi and his family lived a peripatetic existence that included spells in Sudan, Qatar and Britain. They endured years of imprisonment in Iran after fleeing Afghanistan when the U.S. invaded.

Abdul Moheman al-Raghie (L), and Nabih al-Raghie, the son and brother respectively, of al-Qaida suspect Abu Anas al-Libi speak to the press in Nofleine, five kilometres from the Libyan capital Tripoli, Oct. 6, 2013.Abdul Moheman al-Raghie (L), and Nabih al-Raghie, the son and brother respectively, of al-Qaida suspect Abu Anas al-Libi speak to the press in Nofleine, five kilometres from the Libyan capital Tripoli, Oct. 6, 2013.
x
Abdul Moheman al-Raghie (L), and Nabih al-Raghie, the son and brother respectively, of al-Qaida suspect Abu Anas al-Libi speak to the press in Nofleine, five kilometres from the Libyan capital Tripoli, Oct. 6, 2013.
Abdul Moheman al-Raghie (L), and Nabih al-Raghie, the son and brother respectively, of al-Qaida suspect Abu Anas al-Libi speak to the press in Nofleine, five kilometres from the Libyan capital Tripoli, Oct. 6, 2013.
And now she worries about her husband, who is being held reportedly on board a U.S. warship in the Mediterranean. U.S. officials say al-Libi took surveillance photographs in 1993 of the Nairobi embassy and reviewed other possible Western targets for al-Qaida in east Africa. He was indicted with 20 others in 2000 by a court in New York, an indictment based on information supplied by an Egyptian jihadist who worked as a double agent for the CIA.

“These are false accusations and it is very hurtful and worrisome when the President of the United States like Obama characterizes my husband as a killer and a killer of hundreds without providing any evidence, without providing any proof. Isn’t the accused innocent until proven guilty?” asked Rahman.

“Our father was kidnapped we have no idea is he still alive," Al-Libi’s 20-year-old oldest son, Abdullah said. "Is he in good shape? Is he in bad shape? We want to talk to him. We want to reach out to him. We want to know how he’s doing. Right now we are just living that same day over and over, the day of the kidnapping. We don’t know how he’s doing.”

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan has assured the family he had no prior knowledge of the American operation to snatch al-Libi: the Americans say the Libyan government gave tacit approval. Zidan's mainly Islamist political foes don’t believe him and are now demanding he resign.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ecoman from: Nigeria
October 18, 2013 3:35 AM
What has the West done to the Islamist world? Why is it that the West interfers uninvited in Middle East and African affairs? Let us address the root cause of terrorism. America is the world most instigator of terrorism.


by: David from: Walla Walla
October 14, 2013 3:47 PM
I think we should encourage these Al Qaeda supporters to meet with the US - I am sure there would be a constructive dialog.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 14, 2013 12:42 PM
These people who kill, love and support those who kill in the name of Allah, proclaim islam as their religion. But I've seen an article of that faith that says the 'belief of the believer and the unbelief of the unbeliever, is fashioned by Allah. Is someone reading the koran upside down? Today they are in Mecca praying for forgiveness, I even saw one American repentant weeping profusely because he asks for forgiveness; forgiveness from what? Will the same people not relish the death and violence on more innocents when they come out of the ceremonies? Will they regret the loss of innocent lives of children, women and men who have nothing to do with troubling them? They stone the devil today, but it is the devil that prompts them to kill, kill and not forgive - in case they say they are wronged by those they attack or kill. Can someone explain where the line between leaving it for God crossed with jihad or blasphemy? It makes a whole lot of confusion and more so when people say they find peace in it after all the troubles this constituted in the world.

In Response

by: Xaaji dhagax from: Somalia
October 15, 2013 3:56 AM
Have you ever read the Old Testament? ..... Killing, slaughtering, biblical based slavery, beheading neighbours who work Sunday morning and condemning non-believers and many more evil doers are all ordained in the scripture. Koran is nothing more than the hard copy of your bible. One's assumption of having superior religion over others is insane.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 14, 2013 12:20 PM
This proves the futility of cuddling Arab and islamist regimes of every continent and leaning. At the end of the day it leads to nothing palatable, only sore taste. Wars cannot cease to wars. If there be war on terror, then those countries where terror is groomed should be delineated and isolated pending a timeline to carry out an overhauling that will remove the bad parts, replace with good parts, and repair the societies. Tangoing with the access/axis of terror/evil is largely a suicidal mission that is not in consonance with democratization and civilization. My take on this has always been isolation and separation, but if relations must be maintained, then countries should be selected on meeting certain criteria that prove countries are good for habitation and relationship. Various measures can be taken to force countries meet human standards devoid of barbarism and terror which these people see as normal way of life - to kill others or be killed. If need be, wars of the colonial status should be relaunched to restart those societies that have missed out on human etiquette - wars that are fought like wars, not MP3-type playstation games of love and hate living side by side, as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, North Korea etc.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid