Ads

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Eye for an eye? Libyan militants seek vengeance for Al-Qaeda leader’s capture

Eye for an eye? Libyan militants seek vengeance for Al-Qaeda leader’s captureProtesters burn a replica of the U.S. flag during a demonstration against the capture of Nazih al-Ragye, in Benghazi October 7, 2013. (Reuters/Esam Omran Al-Fetor)Protesters burn a replica of the U.S. flag during a demonstration against the capture of Nazih al-Ragye, in Benghazi October 7, 2013. (Reuters/Esam Omran Al-Fetor)

Libyan jihadists have called for retaliation after the rendition of an Al-Qaeda leader in Tripoli, saying militants should kidnap US citizens and attack gas pipelines, ships and planes.
The online campaign comes after the capture by US forces of a suspected senior Al-Qaeda leader, known by his alias Abu Anas el-Liby, who is accused of playing a key role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.  

The real Libyan hero rebels should kidnap an American in Libya to negotiate for our brother Ruqai’s release,” says a Facebook comment cited by the New York Times, referring to Liby’s real name, Nazih Abdul-Hamed Nabih al-Ruqai.

The NY Times also reports that almost immediately following the news of Liby’s capture a new Facebook page, called: “We are all Nazih al-Ruqai, O America” quickly gained 2,000 subscribers.

Other messages called on Libyans to kidnap US citizens to exchange them for imprisoned militants. Libyans were also urged to damage pipelines exporting gas to Europe, and to target ships and planes.
"Libya today is still a place of disbelief that is ruled by something other than the Shariah of Allah; thus, there is no security for disbelievers there," Reuters cites one of the messages posted on a Facebook page called "Benghazi is Protected by its People."

The Libyan government has also become target for online threats. Islamists accuse it of conspiracy with the US, apparently unconvinced by Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s demands for explanations from his US colleagues.

We say that this shameful act will cost the Libyan government a lot and it will be as you will see and not as you hear," a message on a jihadist web forum reads.

The Libyan government has nevertheless persisted in distancing itself from the capture of Liby. It has summoned the US Ambassador to Libya, Deborah Jones, to give an explanation for the weekend’s military raid.  

However, Libya’s prime minister has made it obvious he does not want to have relations with the US spoiled over the incident.

"Our relationship with the USA is one of friendship and cooperation. They helped us with our revolution. Our relationship will not be affected by this event, which we will settle how we need to," Reuters reported Zeidan as saying.

On Monday, some 200 heavily armed Marines were moved to the US naval base at Sigonella, Italy, from their base in Spain to respond to any potential security crisis at the US embassy diplomatic mission in Libya, CNN cited a US military official as saying.

Liby, who was taken into US custody Saturday, is now reportedly being held aboard the USS San Antonio, where he is being interrogated by the US High Value Detainee Group, an inter-agency group led by the FBI.

Liby was indicted by a US Federal Court in 2000 for his alleged role in the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, which left 224 people dead.  He is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list with a $5 million bounty on his head.