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Successful operation in Libya leads to capture of al-Qaeda member: Pentagon

Pentagon has confirmed that U.S. military conducted a "successful" operation Saturday in Libya to capture longtime al-Qaida member Abu Anas al Libi, who was behind the bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.

"He (Libi) is currently lawfully detained under the law of war in a secure location outside of Libya," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement Sunday.

The operation was approved by President Barack Obama and conducted by U.S. military with the coordination across U.S. national security and intelligence agencies, Little said, adding that no U.S. personnel or civilians on the ground were injured during the operation.

Libi has been indicted by a U.S. court in connection with his alleged role in al-Qaida's conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals and to conduct attacks against U.S. interests worldwide. He was believed to be involved in the plots to attack U.S. forces stationed in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia, and the bombings of U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, that killed more than 200 people in 1998.

"These actions are a clear sign that the United States is committed to using all the tools at our disposal to bring to justice those who commit terrorist acts against Americans," Little said.

The spokesman did not mention if the operation was conducted with the knowledge of Libyan authorities, though Libya on Sunday demanded an explanation from the U.S. government for the "kidnap" of a Libyan citizen in an unauthorized military raid in its territory.

"The Libyan government has been following the reports of the kidnap of one of the Libyan citizens wanted by the authorities in the United States," the Libyan government said in a statement. "As soon as it heard the reports, the Libyan government contacted the U.S. authorities to demand an explanation."

The statement said Libya underlined its desire to see Libyan citizens tried in their own country, whatever the accusations levelled against them.

Libi's capture was one of the two special operations that U.S. military conducted over the weekend in Africa that targeted U.S.-designated terrorists.

Little confirmed later Saturday that U.S. military forces also launched an overnight operation against a known al-Shabaab terrorist responsible for the recent deadly attack at a shopping mall in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

He did not reveal further details, including the name of the targeted terrorist.

U.S. media earlier quoted a senior U.S. official as reporting that a team of U.S. Navy SEALs took part in the al-Shabaab raid in Somalia, where the terrorist group is based.

The U.S. troops had to withdraw before they could confirm whether the target was killed as they came under fire, but no SEALs were thought to be killed in the operation, said the official.

Somalia state radio and local residents said Saturday that unidentified foreign forces attacked a house in the al-Shabaab-controlled southern Somalia town of Barawe in an overnight raid.

The attack was launched from the sea at a house protected by al-Shabaab fighters and the battle lasted for more than an hour, according to residents of Barawe in Lower Shabelle region.

Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida linked Somali militant group, has claimed responsibility for the attack on Nairobi's upscale Westgate shopping mall on Sept. 21, which killed more than 70 people.

[Source: Xinhua, Washington, 06Oct13]

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