US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that the capture of an Al-Qaeda operative in Libya was “appropriate and legal” after officials in Tripoli demanded answers about the “kidnap”.
However Kerry conceded that Washington had not informed the Libyan government beforehand about Saturday’s raid to capture Abu Anas al-Libi, who was indicted in connection with the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The US top diplomat told journalists at a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bali, Indonesia that the US does “everything in its power that is appropriate and legal” to hunt down terrorists.
But he added that Washington “does not go into the specifics” with foreign governments about operations such as the one that led to the capture of Libi.
Tripoli insisted the raids had no official authorization and a source close to Libi said he was “kidnapped” while returning from dawn prayers.
A US official told Agence France-Presse that Libi, who was on the FBI’s most wanted list with a $5 million bounty on his head, was taken to a US Navy warship in the region and was being questioned there.
On Saturday a US Navy SEAL raid also took place thousands of miles away in the southern Somali port of Barawe.
The success of that assault on the beachfront villa of a leader of Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents was still unclear, with the fate of the target uncertain.
It came after last month’s siege of an upscale shopping mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi that left 67 people dead.
Kerry’s comments came as Asia-Pacific leaders convened for the annual APEC summit on Monday, which President Barack Obama has been forced to miss due to the US government shutdown. AFP