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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs