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

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid