The New York Times is reporting that US Special Forces are said to have been involved today in two raids in Africa, one in Somalia and the other in Libya. Special Forces in Libya are said to have captured Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai and known as Abu Anas al-Liby. The al Qaeda leader was wanted for his role in the deadly 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.
In the second raid, US Navy Seals in Somalia targeted a senior leader of the Shabab, the Somali terrorist group who has planned the terror attack a little over a week ago at a Nairobi shopping mall that killed more than 60 people.
American commandos carried out raids on Saturday in two far-flung African countries in a powerful flex of military muscle aimed at capturing fugitive terrorist suspects. American troops assisted by F.B.I. and C.I.A. agents seized a suspected leader of Al Qaeda on the streets of Tripoli, Libya, while Navy SEALs raided the seaside villa of a militant leader in a predawn firefight on the coast of Somalia.
In Tripoli, American forces captured a Libyan militant who had been indicted in 2000 for his role in the 1998 bombings of the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The militant, born Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai and known by his nom de guerre, Abu Anas al-Liby, had a $5 million bounty on his head; his capture at dawn ended a 15-year manhunt.
In Somalia, the Navy SEAL team emerged before sunrise from the Indian Ocean and exchanged gunfire with militants at the home of a senior leader of the Shabab, the Somali militant group. The raid was planned more than a week ago, officials said, after a massacre by the Shabab at a Nairobi shopping mall that killed more than 60 people two weeks ago.
UPDATE I: As reported at Legal Insurrection, there there is conflicting news regarding the raids, news outlets are confirming that an Al Shabaab leader was a target of the raid, reports about whether or not that target was captured or killed are conflicting.
U.S. special forces on Saturday carried out a raid in the Libyan capital to capture an al-Qaeda leader linked to the 1998 American Embassy bombings in East Africa and wanted by the United States for more than a decade, U.S. officials said. The news of the capture was previously confirmed by CBS News.
The Pentagon identified the al-Qaeda leader as Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, known by his alias Anas al-Libi. His capture would represent a significant blow to what remains of the core al-Qaeda organization once led by Osama bin Laden.
The Pentagon’s chief spokesman George Little said al-Libi “is currently lawfully detained by the U.S. military in a secure location outside of Libya.” He did not disclose further details.
A senior U.S. military official said the raid was carried out by the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, which has responsibility for counterterrorism operations in North Africa. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.