Jihadists Threaten Revenge for US Libya Snatch Operation
Officials: Army's Delta Force grabbed Anas al-Libi in Tripoli
Oct. 7, 2013 — -- Libyan jihadist groups online have called for revenge attacks against U.S. and Western interests in the north African nation, as well as the local government, two days after an elite U.S. counter-terrorism unit abducted alleged high-profile al Qaeda member Anas al-Libi from Tripoli.
In one posting on Facebook, jihadists called on Libya's "courageous youth" to launch attacks that include kidnapping of Americans, damaging gas pipelines to Europe or targeting ships and airplanes. Another online posting by a separate group "denounced" the American operation and appeared to suspect the Libyan government's collusion in the mission, threatening "everyone who has betrayed his country and made himself involved in this conspiracy."
"Thereby, we say that such disgraceful incident will be very costly to the Libyan government," read the statement, which circulated in jihadi forums.
For its part, the Libyan government released a statement Sunday asking the U.S. for "clarification" about what it called a "kidnapping" of one of its people.
A military source told ABC News it was the Army's 1st Special Forces Group Operational Detachment-Delta, popularly known as Delta Force, that grabbed al-Libi, whose real name is Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, from his car just after his morning prayers Saturday. A group of men, some wearing masks, surrounded al-Libi's car, before dragging him to another video, according to al-Libi's son who claims to have seen a video of the capture.
Al-Libi has been wanted by the U.S. government for more than a decade for his alleged role in the 1998 dual bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and is believed to have been a computer expert for the terrorist network.
Military sources told ABC News Saturday al-Libi was being held aboard a Navy vessel and is expected to be handed over to the FBI for a flight to New York where he will stand trial on terrorism charges. In the meantime, former senior military interrogator Tony Camerino said the U.S. will do what they can to find out what al-Libi knows about the al Qaeda of today and any threats to the homeland.
Just hours earlier and 3,000 miles away in Somalia on Saturday a team of U.S. Navy SEALs from the Osama bin Laden-killing SEAL Team Six embarked on a separate operation to nab a suspected leader of al-Shabab, the Somalia-based al Qaeda-allied terror group that recently claimed responsibility for last month's massacre in Kenya's Westgate mall, according to military officials. That mission, however, apparently went awry when the SEALs encountered resistance on the ground and decided to abort "to avoid civilian casualties," defense officials said today.
The target of the Somali operation was identified today as a man known as Ikrimah, a Kenyan of Somali descent, who is associated with a pair of al Qaeda operatives believed to be linked to the 1998 embassy bombings as well. Though not a household name, Ikrimah was apparently seen as a valuable enough adversary to send in the SEAL team, as one military officer noted Saturday before Ikrimah was named.
"When we put boots on the ground, it is only for an important target," said the military officer, who is familiar with the raid.
Over the weekend, officials told ABC News it was unclear if Ikrimah was killed in the exchange of gunfire.
ABC News' Rym Momtaz and Nasser Atta contributed to this report.