President Obama ordered the weekend raids that captured a top al Qaeda operative in Libya and failed to capture a senior leader of the al-Shabab terrorist network in Somalia, the White House said Monday.
Presidential press secretary Jay Carney said the Libya raid, in which U.S. agents seized Abu Anas al-Libi, were carried out under authorization granted by Congress in 2001. It was a “rendition” of the kind that Mr. Obama railed against when he was a candidate for president.
“This operation was made possible by the superb work and coordination across our national security agencies and the intelligence community,” Mr. Carney said. “I don’t have more details for you about where he is.”
Al-Libi stands indicted by the U.S. for involvement in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He was snatched from a street in Tripoli on Saturday and whisked away in a car. The CIA and the FBI are believed to have been involved.
“We believe in a system that brings people to justice through indictment, and that’s what, you know, we’re witnessing now,” Mr. Carney said.
In the second raid, a U.S. Navy SEAL team came ashore at a seaside villa south of Mogadishu and engaged in a firefight with al-Shabab militants. The target of the U.S. raid is said to have been the senior al-Shabab leader, Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir.
U.S. forces withdrew after a commander made the assessment that civilians could have become casualties in the operation. Al-Shabab is believed to have been behind the attack at a shopping mall in Kenya last month that killed more than 60 people.