Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

MILITARY

Quick, lethal commando raids in Africa suggest future shape of US counter-terror strategy

  • a449a9f892bb5e213f0f6a7067004bcf.jpg

    FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2008 file photo, armed al-Shabab fighters just outside Mogadishu prepare to travel into the city in pickup trucks after vowing there would be new waves of attacks against Ethiopian troops. International military forces carried out a pre-dawn strike Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, against foreign fighters in the same southern Somalia village where U.S. Navy SEALS four years ago killed a most-wanted al-Qaida operative, officials said. The strike comes exactly two weeks after al-Shabab militants attacked Nairobi's Westgate Mall, a four-day terrorist assault that killed at least 67 people in neighboring Kenya. Al-Shabab has a formal alliance with al-Qaida, and hundreds of foreign fighters from the U.S., Britain and Middle Eastern countries fight alongside Somali members of al-Shabab. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File) (The Associated Press)

  • 7779fff6ad1d61213f0f6a7067000cac.jpg

    This image from the FBI website shows Anas al-Libi. Gunmen in a three-car convoy seized Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, known by his alias Anas al-Libi, an al-Qaeda leader connected to the 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa and wanted by the U.S. for more than a decade outside his house Saturday in the Libyan capital, his relatives said. (AP Photo/FBI) (The Associated Press)

  • ad8b89eeaf236a213f0f6a706700fd8d.jpg

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to officials during a visit to a tuna packaging factory in Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013. Kerry said Sunday that a pair of U.S. military raids against militants in North Africa sends the message that terrorists "can run but they can't hide." Kerry, in Bali for an economic summit, was the highest-level administration to speak about the operations yet. (AP Photo) (The Associated Press)

The U.S. commando raids in Libya and Somalia suggest the future shape of U.S. counterterrorism efforts — brief, targeted raids against highly sought extremist figures — and highlight the rise of Africa as a terrorist haven.

The strikes also raise questions about where to interrogate and try captured terrorist suspects such as Abu Anas al-Libi, accused by the U.S. of involvement in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in Africa.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday that al-Libi was in U.S. custody; officials would not say where.

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, said al-Libi has "vast intelligence value."

McKeon, R-Calif., said Obama should "fully exploit this potential" before moving on to his prosecution. The White House seemed to agree, saying Saturday's raid in Tripoli was specifically designed to apprehend, not kill, the suspect.

"The president has made clear our preference for capturing terrorist targets when possible, and that's exactly what we've done in order to elicit as much valuable intelligence as we can and bring a dangerous terrorist to justice," said the White House National Security Council's spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden.

The outcome of a second U.S. commando raid Saturday, targeting a leader of the al-Qaida affiliated terror group, al-Shabaab, was less clear.

A Navy SEAL team swam ashore in Somali early in the morning and engaged in a fierce firefight. A U.S. official said afterward the Americans disengaged after inflicting some al-Shabaab casualties, but it was unclear who was hit. The official was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

The raid in Somalia reflected the importance the Obama administration attaches to combating al-Shabaab, whose leaders are believed to be collaborating more with other al-Qaida affiliated Islamic insurgent groups across Africa.

In a speech in May outlining his strategy for the use of drones, President Barack Obama counted Somalia as among the places where the U.S. and its allies face "lethal yet less capable al-Qaida affiliates."

The commando assaults unfolded against the backdrop of political paralysis in Washington, where the Congress and the White House are locked in battle over budgets but have agreed to keep the military operating and paid on time.

Libya said Sunday it has asked the United States for "clarifications" regarding the capture of al-Libi by U.S. Delta Force commandos.

The Tripoli government said that al-Libi, as a Libyan national, should be tried in his own country. He is on the FBI's most-wanted list of terrorists with a $5 million bounty on his head. He was indicted by the U.S. in November 1998.

In a statement, Libya also said it hoped the incident would not affect its strategic relationship with the U.S., which is evolving in the aftermath of the 2011 ouster of longtime ruler Moammar Ghadafi. Ties were complicated by the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, in eastern Libya.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., a vocal advocate of placing captured high-value terrorist suspects in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, said Sunday that al-Libi should be treated as an enemy combatant, detained in military custody "and interrogated to gather information that will prevent future attacks and help locate other al-Qaida terrorists."

Al-Libi was indicted by a federal court in New York for his alleged role in the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, on Aug. 7, 1998, that killed more than 220 people.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in Indonesia for an economic summit, said the U.S. hopes the raids make clear that America "will never stop in the effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror." He added: "Members of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations literally can run but they can't hide."

It was not immediately clear whether al-Libi had been involved with al-Qaida since or had been connected to militant activities in Libya, where al-Qaida has a growing presence since Gadhafi's was unseated.

His family denied he was ever a member of al-Qaida and said he was not involved in militant activity since his return.

In a 157-page indictment filed in the Southern District of New York in November 1998, the U.S. government accused al-Libi and others of conspiring to kill American civilians and military members at the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Specifically, prosecutors said al-Libi helped bin Laden and al-Qaida plan the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi by scouting and photographing the site in 1993. The indictment also alleges al-Libi discussed other attacks on the U.S. Agency for International Development as well as British, French and Israeli targets in Kenya.

The court filing does not charge al-Libi in the bombing and deaths of those at the embassies, but rather says he conspired to achieve that result.

___

Associated Press writers Philip Elliott and Donna Cassata in Washington, Kimberly Dozier in Charlotte, N.C., and Matthew Lee in Bali, Indonesia, contributed to this report.

Bank Rates

Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
30 Y Fixed Graph 3.98% up 3.95%  
15 Y Fixed Graph 3.05% -- 3.05%  
30 Y Fixed Jumbo Graph 4.23% dw 4.53%  
5/1 ARM Graph 3.32% dw 3.71%  
5/1 Jumbo ARM Graph 3.14% dw 3.38%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
$30K HELOC Graph 4.32% up 4.31%  
$50K HELOC Graph 4.06% -- 4.06%  
$30K Loan Graph 5.05% -- 5.05%  
$50K Loan Graph 4.48% dw 4.49%  
$75K Loan Graph 4.50% dw 4.51%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
36 M New Graph 2.94% -- 2.94%  
36 M Used Graph 3.49% up 3.46%  
48 M New Graph 3.22% -- 3.22%  
48 M Used Graph 3.04% -- 3.04%  
60 M New Graph 3.24% -- 3.24%  
Loan Type Graph Yield +/- Last Week
6 month Graph 0.39% up 0.38%  
1 yr Graph 0.71% up 0.71%  
5 yr Graph 1.50% -- 1.50%  

See the latest updates on the hottest midterm races from Fox News

Full Elections Coverage →

Keep up with all the 2014 races in

Coverage →