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Al-Qaeda leader captured by U.S. Forces in Libya

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 6th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Long suspected in two U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998, Al-Qaeda leader Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, known by his alias "Anas al-Liby" has been taken into custody by U.S. Forces in Tripoli, Libya. "As a result of the Libya operation, one of the world's most wanted terrorists was captured and is now in U.S. custody," U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Al-Liby was reportedly parked outside his home in Tripoli when personnel in three vehicles encircled him, smashed his car's window and seized his gun. Members of the U.S. Army's Delta Force unit before grabbed him and fled. The raid was later confirmed by the U.S Department of Defense.

Department of Defense Press Secretary George Little said in an earlier statement that the 49-year-old al-Liby was being held in a "secure location outside of Libya." Ending a 15-year manhunt, al-Liby was listed on the FBI's most wanted list. It also opens the way for criminal proceedings against him to take place in the U.S.

Indicted by the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York in 2000, al-Liby is accused of planning the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya on Aug. 7, 1998. The bombings killed 224 civilians and injured 5,000 others.

Believed to have been seen as a computer specialist within the Al-Qaeda network, al-Liby studied electronic and nuclear engineering. Graduating from Tripoli University, it's believed that he became an anti-Moammar Qaddafi activist, and spent time in Sudan, where Osama bin Laden was based in the early 1990s.

After bin Laden was forced to leave Sudan, al-Liby turned up in the United Kingdom in 1995, where he was granted political asylum and lived in Manchester. Arrested by Scotland Yard in 1999, he was released due to lack of evidence. He later fled Britain.

Al-Liby's name was included on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list that was introduced shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The U.S. Department of State had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

In the meantime, the Libyan government has asked for "clarifications" from the U.S. They say that Libyan nationals should be tried in their own country. The Libyan government also said it hoped the incident would not affect its strategic relationship with the United States.

Navy SEALs are believed to have also carried out a pre-dawn raid on a Somali coastal base housing members of the armed group Al-Shabab the same day. Military officials claimed the operation was aimed at "high-profile" targets of the group.

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