John Kerry issues warning to terrorists after US raids in Libya and Somalia

Special forces seize al-Qa’ida suspect in Libya but mission in Somalia ends in failure

Twin operations by US special forces in different corners of North Africa at the weekend demonstrated that terrorists who threaten American interests and lives around the world “can run but they can’t hide”, the US Secretary of State John Kerry said today.

Covert forces seized Nazih al-Ragye, better known by the cover name of Abu Anas al-Liby, a high-ranking al-Qa’ida operative, in Libya on Saturday. Mr Liby had been charged in a US court with involvement in the August 1998 attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 220 people. His capture ended a 15-year manhunt.

Also on Saturday, a Navy Seal team swam ashore to launch a surprise attack on a house in the southern Somali seaside town of Barawe in hopes of capturing a leader of the al-Shabaab terror group behind last month’s Nairobi shopping centre attack and massacre. A US security source told the Associated Press the Somali raid was carried out by members of the same navy Seal team that found and killed Osama bin Laden in 2011. The senior US military official said the team had faced fierce resistance and, after a gun battle, the unit leader had decided to abort the mission and the Seals swam away.

In a fairly muted response, the Libyan government said it had asked the US to “provide an explanation” for the “kidnapping” of Mr Liby, a Libyan believed to be 49 years old, which reportedly began with his car being surrounded in broad daylight as he was returning to his home in Tripoli after morning prayers on Saturday.

A Pentagon spokesman said he had been removed from Libya and was in custody overseas. The operation was carried out by the US Army’s Delta Force. The FBI had put a $5m (£3.1m) bounty on his head.

“We hope that this makes clear that the United States of America will never stop in the effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror,” Mr Kerry said while attending a regional economic summit in Bali, Indonesia. “Members of al-Qa’ida and other terrorist organisations literally can run but they can’t hide.” The reported target of the Somali mission, was Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, the al-Shabaab leader also known as Ahmed Abdi Godane. A spokesman for the group, which is linked to al-Qa’ida, said last night that none of its commanders was in the house at the time of the raid. No US casualties were reported in either country.

Somalia has special resonance as a place of danger and risk for the US; it is 20 years since the special forces mission to seize warlords in the capital Mogadishu went awry with the downing of two US helicopters and killing of 18 US marines.

“The Libyan government is following the news of the kidnapping of a Libyan citizen who is wanted by US authorities,” said a statement from the office of the Libyan Prime Minster Ali Zeidan yesteday. “The Libyan government has contacted US authorities to ask them to provide an explanation.”

Meanwhile Somalia’s Prime Minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, indicated that his government had been aware of planning for the assault on Barawe. “We have collaboration with the world and with neighbouring countries in the battle against al-Shabaab,” he told reporters.

Profile: Abu Anas al-Liby

Nazih al-Ragye, better known by the cover name of Abu Anas al-Liby, is a Libyan national who moved to Sudan working for al-Qa’ida as a computer specialist in the early 1990s. He won political asylum in Britain in 1995 and settled in Manchester, where he lived until his arrest by Scotland Yard in 1999, several months after the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania – attacks which he is accused of orchestrating.

He was released because of a lack of evidence and fled the UK. He is believed to have returned to Libya after the death of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. He was captured in a raid by US special forces on Saturday.

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

KS2 Teacher required from October

£90 - £120 per annum: Randstad Education Hull: Key Stage 2 Supply Teacher requ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Computer Futures

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures (an SThree br...

Maths Teacher

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education require a ...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor