Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

US government sources say Libyan authorities “tacitly consented” to Al-Liby raid - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

Abdullah al-Raghie (L) and Abdul Moheman al-Raghie (C), the sons of al-Qaeda suspect Abu Anas Al-Liby point at the house next to the scene where their father was kidnapped by US special forces in a commando raid on October 5, 2013 (AFP PHOTO / STR)

Abdullah al-Raghie (L) and Abdul Moheman al-Raghie (C), the sons of al-Qaeda suspect Abu Anas Al-Liby point at the house next to the scene where their father was kidnapped by US special forces in a commando raid on October 5, 2013 (AFP PHOTO / STR)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The New York Times reported Wednesday that Libyan authorities had “tacitly approved” two American raids in the country to seize suspected terrorists, according to official US government sources.

The sources claimed that the Libyan government had authorized US operations “some time ago,” but were not directly informed of the raid that seized a suspect in the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa in Tripoli on October 5.

A raid to capture another individual suspected of terrorism has been approved, according to the report, but not carried out.

Saturday’s raid led to the capture of Abu Anas Al-Liby, born Nazih Abdul-Hamed Al-Ruqai, suspected of involvement in the US Embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, which killed 224 people.

The Libyan government continues to publicly deny any knowledge or involvement, and on Tuesday Libyan Justice Minister Salah Al-Marghani summoned US ambassador Deborah Jones, demanding an explanation.

However, despite official government denials, a Libyan government source who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity confirmed that an official Libyan government agency was involved in the raids in order to win favor with the US.

Speaking on Tuesday, President Barack Obama defended raids conducted by US forces in Libya and Somalia over the weekend, echoing remarks by US secretary of state John Kerry, who said Liby was a “legal and appropriate target for the US military.”

After being seized by a team comprised of US Army commandos and FBI and CIA agents, Liby was taken out of Libya and to a US Navy ship, the USS Antonio, at sea in the Mediterranean for interrogation.

The US has not said how long it intends to hold Al-Liby prior to trial, which has already sparked concerns over compliance with the Geneva Conventions.

However, at a press conference on Tuesday, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte and Saxby Chambliss claimed that the Obama administration plans to keep Al-Liby at sea for 60 days. The administration is yet to confirm or deny the claim.

The Republican Senators also said that they hoped Liby would be taken to Guantanamo Bay, as they did not believe the suspected interrogation period to be enough. However, analysts say that the Obama administration is not likely to transfer him there.

The second raid allegedly approved by the Libya government was planned against a suspect wanted in connection with the attack against the US consulate in the Libya city of Benghazi, on September 11, 2012.

The attack led to the deaths of four American State Department and CIA personnel, including the US ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens.

The suspect is widely believed to be Ahmed Abu Khattala, a commander of Libya’s Ansar Al-Sharia group.

On Tuesday, Asharq Al-Awsat published Khattala’s exclusive telephone interview with the paper.

He denied going into hiding and said “Inshallah [God willing] a repeat of this [kidnapping] will not happen to me.”

Khattala also continues to strongly deny any involvement in the attacks against the US mission in Benghazi and stated that the US has no evidence to suggest otherwise.

The reports of government involvement are likely to provoke a large domestic reaction, particularly from Islamist groups that have already taken to social networking sites to express their anger at what they see as a violation of Libyan national sovereignty.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

More Posts

Follow Me:
FacebookGoogle PlusYouTube