Libya Strike Ends 15-Year Hunt for Abu Anas al-Libi


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"Members of al-Qa'ida and other terrorist organizations literally can run but they can't hide," Secretary of State John Kerry said in reference to this weekend's US military raids aimed at al-Shabaab militants in Somalia and Libyan, Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, a.k.a., Abu Anas al-Libi.

Al-Libi was wanted for his involvement in the 1998 bombings of US Embassies in Kenya (right) and Tanzania (left), in which over 220 were killed and 5,000 injured. Considering the span of 15 years since the bombings, predating the al-Qa'ida attacks of 11 September, Kerry said, "We hope that this makes clear that the United States of America will never stop in the effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror."

1998 Bombings

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a statement today that al-Libi is currently in US custody after his capture, echoing Kerry's comments that the US, "will spare no effort to hold terrorists accountable, no matter where they hide or how long they evade justice." Hagel praised the US military personnel involved in both operations.

The Libyan extremist was indicted in 2000 by a New York court for planning the East Africa bombings and other attacks aimed at US interests. Executive Order 13224 designates al-Libi as a global terrorist through his involvement in designated terrorist organizations and the UN has included him on its al-Qa'ida sanctions list.

According to al-Jazeera, Tripoli is asking for US "clarifications" on the capture and while not wishing to affect a strategic relationship with Washington, the Libyan government affirms that Libyan nationals should be tried in their home country.

A brother of al-Libi, Nabih al-Ruqai, reported to the Associated Press that al-Libi was parked outside of his house in Tripoli following Saturday morning prayers when he was captured by personnel in three vehicles that surrounded him, smashed the car window, grabbed his gun and him and left.

[Images via Wikimedia Commons.]