After U.S. raids in
Libya and Somalia that captured an Islamist wanted for bombing
U.S. embassies in Africa 15 years ago, Secretary of State John
Kerry warned al Qaeda they "can run but they can't hide".
Sunday, October 06, 2013
Nazih al-Ragye, better known by the cover name Abu Anas
al-Liby, was seized by U.S. forces in the Libyan capital Tripoli
on Saturday, the Pentagon said. A raid on the Somali port of
Barawe, a stronghold of the al Shabaab movement behind last
month's attack on a Kenyan mall, failed to take its target.
"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 on Sunday in Indonesia,
ahead of an Asia-Pacific summit.
"Those members of al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations
literally can run but they can't hide," Kerry said in Benoa on
Bali. "We will continue to try to bring people to justice."
Liby, a Libyan believed to be 49, has been under U.S.
indictment for his alleged role in the bombings of the U.S.
embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, which killed 224
The U.S. government has also been offering a $5 million
reward for information leading to his capture, under the State
Department's Rewards for Justice programme.
"As the result of a U.S. counterterrorism operation, Abu
Anas al-Liby is currently lawfully detained by the U.S. military
in a secure location outside of Libya," Pentagon spokesman
George Little said without elaborating.
Liby was arrested at dawn in Tripoli as he was heading home
after morning prayers, a neighbour and Libyan militia sources
"As I was opening my house door, I saw a group
of cars coming quickly from the direction of the house where
al-Ragye lives. I was shocked by this movement in the early
morning," said one of his neighbours, who did not give his
name. "They kidnapped him. We do not know who are they."
Two Islamist militia sources confirmed the incident.
A year ago, CNN quoted Western intelligence sources as
saying Liby had returned to his native country during the
Western-backed uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.
The Pentagon confirmed U.S. military personnel had been
involved in an operation against what it called "a known al
Shabaab terrorist," in Somalia, but gave no more details.
Local people in Barawe and Somali security officials said
troops came ashore from the Indian Ocean to attack a house near
the shore used by al Shabaab fighters.
One U.S. official, speaking to Reuters on condition of
anonymity, said the al Shabaab leader targeted in the operation
was neither captured nor killed.
U.S. officials did not identify the target. They said U.S.
forces, trying to avoid civilian casualties, disengaged after
inflicting some al Shabaab casualties. They said no U.S.
personnel were wounded or killed in the operation, which one
U.S. source said was carried out by a Navy SEAL team.
A Somali intelligence official said the target of the raid
at Barawe, about 110 miles (180 km) south of Mogadishu, was a
Chechen commander, who had been wounded and his guard killed.
Police said a total of seven people were killed.
Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for al Shabaab's
military operations, told Reuters foreign forces had landed on
the beach at Barawe and launched an assault at dawn that drew
gunfire from rebel fighters in one of the militia's coastal
Britain and Turkey denied his suggestion that their forces
had been involved in the attack and taken casualties.
Abu Musab said the attackers appeared to use silenced
weapons. Al Shabaab responded with gunfire and grenades.
The New York Times quoted an unnamed U.S. security official
as saying that the Barawe raid was planned a week and a half ago
in response to the al Shabaab assault on a Nairobi shopping mall
last month in which at least 67 people died.
"It was prompted by the Westgate attack," the official said.
Barawe residents said fighting erupted at about 3 a.m. on
Saturday (midnight GMT).
"We were awoken by heavy gunfire last night, we thought an
al Shabaab base at the beach was captured," Sumira Nur told
Reuters from Barawe by telephone. "We also heard sounds of
shells, but we do not know where they landed," she added.
The New York Times quoted a Somali government official as
saying that the government "was pre-informed about the attack".
In 2009, helicopter-borne U.S. special forces killed senior
al Qaeda militant Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in a raid in southern
Somalia. Nabhan was suspected of building the bomb that killed
15 people at an Israeli-owned hotel on the Kenyan coast in 2002.
The United States has used drones to kill fighters in
Somalia in the past. In January 2012, members of the elite U.S.
Navy SEALs rescued two aid workers after killing their nine
Shabaab leader Ahmed Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu
al-Zubayr, has described the Nairobi mall attack as retaliation
for Kenya's incursion in October 2011 into southern Somalia to
crush the insurgents. It has raised concern in the West over the
operations of Shabaab in the region.