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John Kerry goes on defensive: Libyan operation was ‘legal’

- The Washington Times - Monday, October 7, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry went into defense mode on Monday, assuring a skeptical international community that the weekend seizure of a suspected high-ranking al Qaeda operative in Tripoli was in fact legal and justified.

American Special Forces rooted out and seized Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai — known as Abu Anas al-Libi — in a weekend undercover operation. On Monday, the suspect was on a Navy ship, facing interrogation by U.S. officials, and set for transport to New York for criminal prosecution, The New York Times reported.

But Libya and the nation's allies have questioned the legality of the U.S. operation, accusing the United States of kidnapping and sending Mr. Kerry to do some public relations damage control. He said the suspect was a "legal and appropriate target" and that those with doubts about his detainment should be careful not to "sympathize" with suspected and wanted terrorists, CBS reported.

"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 the 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," Mr. Kerry told reporters on Monday.

He also said, CBS reported: "I think it's important for people in the world not to sympathize with alleged terrorists but to underscore the importance of the rule of law."

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