Libya said it has asked the United States for “clarifications” regarding the abduction in Tripoli of an al-Qaida leader linked to the 1998 US Embassy bombings in East Africa, saying that Libyan nationals should be tried in their own country.
It follows a series of raids by US special forces against Islamic extremists who have carried out terrorist in Africa.
The Libyan reaction came a day after US special forces captured Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, known by his alias Anas al-Libi, in a raid. Al-Libi is on the FBI’s most-wanted list with a $5m bounty on his head.
In a statement, the government said it “contacted the American authorities and asked it to present clarifications”. But it also said it hoped the incident would not impact its strategic relationship with the United States.
On Saturday, the US Army’s Delta Force, which has responsibility for counter-terrorism operations in North Africa, carried out attacks in Somalia and the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
The attacks struck Islamic extremists who played a role in the bombings of the US Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, on August 7, 1998, that killed more than 220 people.
Al-Libi’s capture represents a significant blow to what remains of the core al-Qaida organisation once led by Osama bin Laden.
Pentagon spokesman George Little said yesterday that al-Libi “is currently lawfully detained by the US military in a secure location outside of Libya”. He did not disclose further details.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said the raids his country conducted would send the message that terrorists “can run but they can’t hide”.
“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,” Mr Kerry said, from the Indonesian capital of Bali where he is attending an economic summit.
“Members of al-Qaida and other terrorist organisations literally can run but they can’t hide,” he added.