U.S. forces have arrested Libyan al-Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi on Saturday, following a military raid in the streets of Tripoli.
Libi was allegedly involved in the 1988 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which left more than 200 people dead.
He was on the FBI’s most wanted list with a $5 million reward and has been accused in a U.S. federal court in New York for allegedly playing a key role in the East Africa bombings.
“As the result of a U.S. counterterrorism operation, Abu Anas al-Libi is currently lawfully detained by the U.S. military in a secure location outside of Libya,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement according to Agence France-Presse.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said the arrest showed the United States's determination to hunt down those responsible for terrorism.
“We hope that this makes clear that the United States of America will never stop in its effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.
Kerry also said the raids should make clear that “those members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations literally can run, but they can't hide.”
A source close to Libi told AFP he was captured by armed men in Tripoli as the operation took place in broad daylight in the knowledge of the Libyan government, a U.S. official told CNN.
But Libyan security services denied the claim, saying they were unaware of any kidnapping or arrest of the man, reported AFP.
The capture of Libi, who was born under the name Nazih Abdul Hamed Al-Raghie puts an end to a 15-year man hut. He will be brought to the U.S. to face trial.
“Capture of Abu Anas al Libi would represent major blow against remnants of al Qaeda's core,” Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, wrote on Twitter, according to AFP.
Libi and other al-Qaeda members have allegedly discussed an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi as early as 1993.
He is said to have conducted visual and photographic surveillance of the embassy and allegedly planned in 1994 to attack the mission as well as the building then housing the United States Agency for International Development in the Kenyan capital, along with British, French and Israeli targets.
In a separate raid, a U.S. Navy SEAL team seized a senior leader of the al-Shabaab militant groupfrom a seaside villa in Somalia on Saturday in response to a deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall last month, the New York Times quoted U.S. officials as saying.
Source: Al Arabiya; AFP