London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Facing domestic suspicions regarding the Libyan government’s role in the kidnapping of Libyan Al-Qaeda suspect Abu Anas Al-Liby, Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan released a statement on Sunday calling for “clarifications” from the United States government regarding the abduction operation.
Zeidan confirmed that Libyan authorities have contacted their US counterparts for an explanation.
In a press release published on the website of the Libyan interim government, Libyan officials said they were closely following updates regarding the arrest and were cooperating with US authorities.
Abu Anas Al-Liby, born Nazih Abdul-Hamed Al-Ruqai, was abducted at dawn by the US Army’s Delta Force, which is responsible for counter-terrorism in North Africa, as he was coming home from morning prayers.
On Monday, US secretary of state John Kerry made a statement at the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bali, Indonesia. He defended US actions by explaining that Liby was a “legal and appropriate target for the US military.”
The Al-Qaeda leader was wanted for allegedly being one of the orchestrators of the US Embassy attacks in Nairobi and Tanzania in 1998, which killed 224 people.
He has been on the FBI’s most-wanted list and, under the American Rewards for Justice program, USD 5 million was being offered for his capture.
The US State Department also released John Kerry’s reaction on October 6 regarding the simultaneous US military operations conducted in Libya and Somalia. The secretary of state said that these actions reflect the determination of the US to hold members of terrorist organizations accountable. He warned that “members of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations literally can run, but they can’t hide.”
Kerry also described the operations and confirmed that they were conducted by US personnel. “I want to thank and congratulate the quality and courage of those young Americans who took part in those operations,” he said.
The statement contradicts the account from Liby’s son, Abdullah Al-Ruqai, who witnessed the abduction. He told Libya’s Nabir TV station on Sunday that the kidnappers “were Libyan, not Americans—they spoke with Tripoli accents.”
“My mother was listening to the voices in the street and could see it all through the window. There were two cars and a bus with blacked-out windows and no number plates,” he continued.
The Pentagon confirmed Liby was taken out of Libya and the New York Times elaborated that Liby was being held in military custody and interrogated on the USS Antonio navy ship in the Mediterranean.
US defense secretary Chuck Hagel also released a statement commending the military efforts of US troops.
“As a result of the Libya operation, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists was captured and is now in US custody,” Hagel noted.
“These operations in Libya and Somalia send a strong message to the world that the United States will spare no effort to hold terrorists accountable, no matter where they hide or how long they evade justice,” warned Hagel.
Libya is facing rising fears that it is becoming another safe haven for fundamentalists due to the fractured domestic security situation.