News / Middle East

Libya PM: US Raid Will Not Hurt Ties

Morocco's Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane (R) and his Libyan counterpart Ali Zeidan speak to the media during a press conference in Rabat, Morocco, Oct. 8, 2013.
Morocco's Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane (R) and his Libyan counterpart Ali Zeidan speak to the media during a press conference in Rabat, Morocco, Oct. 8, 2013.
Reuters
Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said on Tuesday that relations with the United States would not be affected by a U.S. military raid that captured an al-Qaida suspect in Tripoli, but he said Libyan suspects should be tried in in their own country.

His comments reflected a desire to keep on board a key foreign ally in the fight to control worsening violence, at the same time as appeasing Islamist militants who have taken over swaths of Libya and use it as a safe haven.

Militant groups angered by Saturday's raid have taken to social networking sites to call for revenge attacks on strategic targets including gas export pipelines, planes and ships, as well as for the kidnappings of Americans in the capital.

In the operation, U.S. special forces seized Nazih al-Ragye - known by his alias Abu Anas al-Liby - a Libyan who is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 civilians.

“Our relationship with the USA is important, and we care about that, but we care, too, about our citizens, which is our duty,” Zeidan told reporters after a meeting with the Moroccan government in Rabat.

“They helped us with our revolution. Our relationship will not be affected by this event, which we will settle in the way that we need to,” said Zeidan.

The United States was a key ally of rebels who overthrew long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi two years ago.

But since then much of Libya has descended into lawlessness as militants, some of them affiliated to the al-Qaida network, use it to smuggle weapons and as a base for fighters.

Zeidan said Libyan citizens should be judged in Libya, and that Tripoli was in contact with U.S. authorities to “take all necessary measures in this affair.” Libya summoned the U.S. ambassador on Monday to discuss the issue.

U.S. officials say Liby is being held aboard a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea.

Raising fears of a violent backlash from angry militants, some groups have called for revenge attacks.

Messages posted by Libyan jihadists on the Internet and monitored by the SITE service included a Facebook page called “Benghazi is Protected by its People.”

It told Libyans to close off entrances and exits to Tripoli, and to kidnap citizens of the United States and its allies in order to use them to bargain for the release of imprisoned militants.

It also urged them to damage pipelines exporting gas to Europe, and target ships and planes.

A separate group called “the Revolutionaries of Benghazi - al-Bayda, Derna” accused Libya's leaders of having prior knowledge of the operation. Zeidan said at the weekend the government had asked the United States to explain the raid.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid