U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has defended his nation’s commando raid over the weekend in Libya that led to the capture of Anas al-Liby, an al Qaida associate wanted in connection with the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Speaking to media on the sidelines of the on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Bali, Indonesia, Mr. Kerry said al-Liby was “a key al Qaeda figure” and “a legal and an appropriate target for the U.S. military under the authorisation of the use of military force passed in September of 2001.”
Though it was an echo of the 2011 Navy SEAL operation in Abbotabad, Pakistan, that led to the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Libyan officials, however, protested against the U.S.’ unilateral covert action on their soil.
In a statement Libyan Prime Minister, Ali Zaidan, said, “The Libyan government is following the news of the kidnapping of a Libyan citizen who is wanted by US authorities. The Libyan government has contacted US authorities to ask them to provide an explanation.”
While the Libyan government did not say whether its forces were involved in the arrest, officials reportedly claimed they had not been informed in advance.
Reports from Libya said that al-Liby was snatched out of a Tripoli neighborhood on Saturday when he returned from early morning prayers. The New York Times said that masked men “armed with silencer-equipped weapons,” smashed al-Liby’s car window and “within moments, they were gone.”
Currently in U.S. custody, the man at the centre of a 15-year manhunt will probably be produced in New York court to face terrorism-related charges.
Although, notwithstanding the Libyan response, the U.S. strike against al-Liby is being considered a success, a separate, near-simultaneous Navy SEAL raid in southern Somalia targeting a leader of the al-Shabab terror group resulted in failure.
The amphibious commando assault aimed at capturing Ahmed Godane, described as “the architect” of last month's attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, reportedly came under heavy fire and had to abandon equipment that Somali militants allegedly photographed and posted on the Internet.
Unnamed U.S. government officials speaking to media here confirmed that President Barack Obama had authorised both North African strikes.
Keywords: Libyan commando raid