US strikes double blow against Al Qaeda in Libya and Somalia

US strikes double blow against Al Qaeda in Libya and Somalia

Anas al Libi, wanted for his role in the deadly bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, was captured on Saturday.

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by ABC News

WHAS11.com

Posted on October 5, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 5 at 9:47 PM

(ABC News) -- In a set of two simultaneous stealth raids in Libya and Somalia, the United States military Saturday delivered a double blow against al Qaeda terror leaders.

By far the most significant action, according to U.S. officials, was the reported capture outside Tripoli, Libya, of Anas al Libi, wanted for his role in the deadly bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998.

Al Libi is now in custody on a U.S. Navy ship, according to U.S. military sources. Officials told ABC News he is expected to be handed over to the FBI for a flight to New York where he will stand trial on the terror charges.

The U.S. had posted a $5 million reward for the capture of al Libi, whose presence in Libya was known for several months to officials.

A military source said the capture of al Libi was carried out by 1st Special Forces Group Operational Detachment-Delta, aka "Delta Force," headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The second pre-dawn raid in another part of the African continent targeted leaders of the al Shabab terror group in Somalia, an affiliate of al Qaeda and the organization believed responsible for the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

"I can confirm that yesterday, October 4, U.S. military personnel were involved in a counter terrorism operation against a known al-Shabaab terrorist," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said. "We are not prepared to provide additional detail at this time."

U.S. officials told ABC News that they have received conflicting accounts from "on the ground" about whether the unidentified principal target was killed or captured during the military raid.

A U.S. official told ABC News they can't identify who was killed.

The al Shabab raid was planned even before the mall attack, according to U.S. officials, but took on added urgency afterwards.

The raids were synchronized to make sure the U.S. teams had the element of surprise in both cases.

Historically, raids of this sort are run by the Joint Special Operations Command, headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C. Navy SEAL team six is the group responsible for the Somalia raid, according to our military source.

This is the same "Tier One special mission unit" that carried out the Capt. Phillips rescue, operating out of Manda Bay in Kenya, and of course the raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed.

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