Defense Department spokesman George Little, in a written statement, confirmed U.S. forces have captured Abu Anas el-Liby, an al-Qaida leader indicted in the United States for the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salam, Tanzania.
Senior al Qaeda figure Anas al-Liby, indicted by the United States for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa, was captured in Libya by a U.S. team and is in American custody, U.S. officials said on Saturday.
The raid was in response to an attack on a shopping mall two weeks ago in neighboring Kenya. Al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group, has claimed responsibility for the action, which killed at least 67 people.
The Pentagon said senior al-Qaeda figure Anas al-Liby was seized in the raid in Libya. Liby, believed to be 49, has been under US indictment for his alleged role in the East Africa embassy bombings that killed 224 people.
The US government has also been offering a $5m reward for information leading to his capture, under the State Department\’s Rewards for Justice programme.
"As the result of a US counter-terrorism operation, Abu Anas al-Liby is currently lawfully detained by the US military in a secure location outside of Libya," Pentagon spokesman George Little said without elaborating.
The attacks 15 years ago killed more than 200 people and injured thousands.
CNN reported in September last year that Liby had been seen in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. It quoted Western intelligence sources as saying there was concern that he may have been tasked with establishing an al-Qaeda network in Libya.
The Pentagon confirmed US military personnel had been involved in an operation against what it called "a known al-Shabab terrorist" in Somalia’s Barawe town, but gave no more details.
One US official, speaking to Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity, said the al-Shabab leader targeted in the operation was neither captured nor killed.
US officials did not identify the target.
They said US forces, trying to avoid civilian casualties, disengaged after inflicting some al-Shabab casualties. They said no US personnel were wounded or killed in the operation, which one US source said was carried out by a Navy SEAL team.
The mission, first reported by The New York Times, marks the boldest strike on Somali soil since U.S. commandos killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, an al-Qaida mastermind, near the same town four years ago.
Al-Shabab has vowed to carry out other acts of violence against Kenya, unless Kenya withdraws its forces from Somalia.
Kenyan forces entered Somalia two years ago to help battle the militant group, which has been fighting to turn Somalia into a strict Islamic state.