'Most wanted' al Qaeda leader captured by US

U.S. forces on Saturday captured a top al Qaeda figure wanted for two U.S. embassy bombings, according to the Department of Defense.

ADVERTISEMENT
Anas al Libi, 49, who was on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list, was captured in his native Libya.

He was indicted in the Southern District of New York, for his alleged involvement in the bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998.

The U.S. government had been offering $5 million for information leading to al Libi's capture or conviction.

"On Oct.5, the Department of Defense, acting under military authorities, conducted an operation to apprehend longtime Al Qaeda member Abu Anas al Libi in Libya," Pentagon spokesman George Little said. "He is currently lawfully detained under the law of war in a secure location outside of Libya. 

"Wherever possible, our first priority is and always has been to apprehend terrorist suspects, and to preserve the opportunity to elicit valuable intelligence that can help us protect the American people." 

No American personnel or civilians on the ground were injured during the operation, Little said.

Libya’s government is demanding an explanation for al Libi's apprehension from the U.S. government, calling it a kidnapping.

U.S. special operations forces also launched a night raid against a Somali stronghold of the al Shabaab terror group early Saturday, days after the group's deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall.

The Somali-based terror group with ties to al Qaeda's Africa cell, claimed responsibility for the bloody attack on a shopping mall in the Kenyan capital.

"We hope that this makes clear that the United States of America will never stop in its effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror,” Secretary of State John Kerry said early Sunday in Bali, Indonesia. “And those members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations literally can run, but they can't hide.” 

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a strong critic of President Obama, said on Sunday Obama could get a boost from the raid and capture of a high-level terrorist by U.S. special forces on Saturday.

"It's strengthened his hand, probably marginally, but it's a good thing," King said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"I think this is a plus and I'm certainly glad we have that kind of order out there for those missions our hats are off to our special forces that have pulled this off and they're coming back without American casualties."

King said it "does make it clear that we can operate in Somalia, we can operate in Libya, that's a message that I think will resonate in the next few days as we analyze this."

--Vicki Needham contributed to this report, which was originally published at 7:20 a.m. and last updated at 10:11 a.m.