A Libyan man suspected of involvement with terrorist bombings was captured yesterday in Tripoli,reportedly by US Special Forces. The Pentagon has confirmed the seizure and, according to US Secretary of State John Kerry, said the arrest demonstrated that the US determination to capture those involved for terrorism.
The man, Nazih Abdul-Hamed Nabih Al-Ruqaii whose nomme de guerre is as Abu Anas Al-Libi, has been on America’s most wanted list for 15 years, after being indicted for alleged involvement in the coordinated bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. He is believed to be a prominent member of Al Qaeda.
The attack on the embassy in Nairobi left 200 people dead and 5,000 more injured. A bomb that exploded at the same time at the embassy in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania killed 11 people.
Ruqaii was reportedly seized near the Airport Road, in the residential area behind the petrol tanks.
According to Hashim Bishr, head of Tripoli SSC, he was grabbed after leaving the local mosque after dawn prayers. He was armed at the time but five masked men, dressed in black and who had arrived in a 4X4 vehicle, managed to quickly overpower him, bundled him into the vehicle and drove off.
It is widely reportedly that he was seized by US Special Forces. The US embassy compound is very close by. Other local reports, however, say that he was taken by local forces – for the reward. Specifically, Zintani forces, who control the area, have been mentioned.
Described as one of America’s most wanted terrorists, the US offered a reward of up to $5 million “for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction” of the 49 year-old man.
It has been claimed that the Libyan government knew the raid was being carried out. This has been denied today by the government, which has posted a statement on its Facebook page, saying it knows nothing about the seizure. It has called ”for clarification” about the reported seizure.
It is understood that, following his capture, he is being held outside Libya.
After living abroad for many years, including in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and Britain, Libi is believed to have returned to Libya at least a year ago.