U.S. operatives nabbed Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai from his home in Tripoli and removed him in secret from Libya. He was wanted in regards to the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies at Kenya and Tanzania. He is believed to have played an active role in the plot that killed many and caused millions of dollars in damages.
Officials believe the capture of Nazih will be detrimental to al-Qaeda and will weaken its forces in North Africa. It was proposed that al-Qaeda sought to branch out in the North African region to bolster its cause. The take down of Nazih will slow al-Qaeda’s plan for infiltrating the region.
Operations were conducted in Somalia to capture additional militant area leaders of al-Shabab. Critics have noted the Obama administration as being over zealous in their attempt to capture high level operatives of terrorism. The administration does endorse the use of drone strikes with ground troops in support of missions.
According to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the use of U.S. Navy SEALs in capturing the terrorist “displays the commitment of the Obama administration in dismantling al-Qaeda. He added that operations like these in Somalia and Libya “send a strong message to the world that the United States will spare no effort to hold terrorists accountable, no matter where they hide or how long they evade justice.”
The U.S. celebrated the capture of Nazih but their failure to secure other top level operatives in Somalia cast a cloud over the secretive operation. It was reported that forces were repelled by extremists in a gun fight. It is unclear if bad intelligence or under reported numbers of al-Shabab operatives were the cause of the failure.
The escalation in violence in Kenya has called international attention to the region. The attack in the Nairobi mall which involved al-Shabab killed a large number of people. Government officials have condemned the group and U.S. officials have affirmed that al-Shabab is clearly affiliated with al-Qaeda’s agenda.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry said that U.S. armed forces personnel “conducted two operations in order to continue to hunt down those responsible for acts of terrorism.” He said he hopes it is clear that the United States will never stop “in its efforts to hold accountable those who conduct acts of terror.”
Officials have stated that Nazih was charged in a New York court as a criminal and was placed on a U.N. sanction listing. Officials have plans of conducting a thorough investigation and hope to acquire new intelligence on terrorist activities. Nazih was on the move for years before being nabbed by U.S. operatives for terrorist activities. and transported from Libya he was on the move for years.
By Thomas Barr