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Kerry defends raid that led to Al Qaeda leader's capture after Libya seeks 'clarification'

APTOPIX Libya-Militan_Cham640.jpg

This image from the FBI website shows Abu Anas al-Libi, captured by U.S. forces in Tripoli, Libya (AP Photo)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry defended the capture of an Al Qaeda leader long wanted in connection with the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa.

Speaking in Bali Monday, where he is attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit,  Kerry said Abu Anas al-Libi was a "legal and appropriate target" for the U.S. military and will face justice in a court of law. Kerry added it was important not to "sympathize" with wanted terrorists.

Libya said Sunday it had asked the United States for "clarifications" regarding the raid that lead to Al-Libi's capture, adding that Libyan nationals should be tried in their own country.

In a statement, the government said it "contacted the American authorities and asked it to present clarifications" regarding the al-Libi abduction. It also said it hoped the incident would not impact its strategic relationship with the United States.

"I hope the perception is in the world that people who commit acts of terror and who have been appropriately indicted by courts of law, by the legal process, will know that United States of America is going to do anything in its power that is legal and appropriate in order to enforce the law and to protect our security," Kerry told reporters after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific economic conference.

Earlier, Kerry said the raids would send the message that terrorists "can run but they can't hide."

"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," Kerry had Sunday. 

Saturday, the U.S. Army's Delta Force, which has responsibility for counterterrorism operations in North Africa, carried out attacks in Somalia and the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

The attacks struck Islamic extremists who played a role in the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, on August 7, 1998, that killed more than 220 people.

Al-Libi's capture represents a significant blow to what remains of the core Al Qaeda organization once led by Usama bin Laden.

The Pentagon's chief spokesman George Little said Saturday al-Libi "is currently lawfully detained by the U.S. military in a secure location outside of Libya." He did not disclose further details.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.