Libya, Somalia raids show U.S. threat to al Qaeda - Kerry

Reuters

* Libyan wanted for 1998 embassy bombings seized in Tripoli

* Somali port raid on al Shabaab fails to take target

* Kerry: "Terrorist organisations can run but they can'thide"

By Mark Hosenball and Ghaith Shennib

WASHINGTON/TRIPOLI, Oct 6 (Reuters) - After U.S. raids inLibya and Somalia that captured an Islamist wanted for bombingU.S. embassies in Africa 15 years ago, Secretary of State JohnKerry warned al Qaeda they "can run but they can't hide".

Nazih al-Ragye, better known by the cover name Abu Anasal-Liby, was seized by U.S. forces in the Libyan capital Tripolion Saturday, the Pentagon said. A raid on the Somali port ofBarawe, a stronghold of the al Shabaab movement behind lastmonth's attack on a Kenyan mall, failed to take its target.

"We hope this makes clear that the United States of Americawill never stop in its effort to hold those accountable whoconduct acts of terror," Kerry said on Sunday in Indonesia,ahead of an Asia-Pacific summit.

"Those members of al Qaeda and other terrorist organisationsliterally can run but they can't hide," Kerry said in Benoa onBali. "We will continue to try to bring people to justice."

Liby, a Libyan believed to be 49, has been under U.S.indictment for his alleged role in the bombings of the U.S.embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, which killed 224people.

The U.S. government has also been offering a $5 millionreward for information leading to his capture, under the StateDepartment's Rewards for Justice programme.

"As the result of a U.S. counterterrorism operation, AbuAnas al-Liby is currently lawfully detained by the U.S. militaryin a secure location outside of Libya," Pentagon spokesmanGeorge Little said without elaborating.

Liby was arrested at dawn in Tripoli as he was heading homeafter morning prayers, a neighbour and Libyan militia sourcessaid.

"As I was opening my house door, I saw a groupof cars coming quickly from the direction of the house whereal-Ragye lives. I was shocked by this movement in the earlymorning," said one of his neighbours, who did not give hisname. "They kidnapped him. We do not know who are they."

Two Islamist militia sources confirmed the incident.

A year ago, CNN quoted Western intelligence sources assaying Liby had returned to his native country during theWestern-backed uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

The Pentagon confirmed U.S. military personnel had been involved in an operation against what it called "a known alShabaab terrorist," in Somalia, but gave no more details.

Local people in Barawe and Somali security officials saidtroops came ashore from the Indian Ocean to attack a house nearthe shore used by al Shabaab fighters.

One U.S. official, speaking to Reuters on condition ofanonymity, said the al Shabaab leader targeted in the operationwas neither captured nor killed.

U.S. officials did not identify the target. They said U.S.forces, trying to avoid civilian casualties, disengaged afterinflicting some al Shabaab casualties. They said no U.S.personnel were wounded or killed in the operation, which oneU.S. source said was carried out by a Navy SEAL team.

SOMALIA FIREFIGHT

A Somali intelligence official said the target of the raidat Barawe, about 110 miles (180 km) south of Mogadishu, was aChechen commander, who had been wounded and his guard killed.Police said a total of seven people were killed.

Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for al Shabaab'smilitary operations, told Reuters foreign forces had landed onthe beach at Barawe and launched an assault at dawn that drewgunfire from rebel fighters in one of the militia's coastalbases.

Britain and Turkey denied his suggestion that their forceshad been involved in the attack and taken casualties.

Abu Musab said the attackers appeared to use silencedweapons. Al Shabaab responded with gunfire and grenades.

The New York Times quoted an unnamed U.S. security officialas saying that the Barawe raid was planned a week and a half agoin response to the al Shabaab assault on a Nairobi shopping malllast month in which at least 67 people died.

"It was prompted by the Westgate attack," the official said.

Barawe residents said fighting erupted at about 3 a.m. onSaturday (midnight GMT).

"We were awoken by heavy gunfire last night, we thought anal Shabaab base at the beach was captured," Sumira Nur toldReuters from Barawe by telephone. "We also heard sounds ofshells, but we do not know where they landed," she added.

The New York Times quoted a Somali government official assaying that the government "was pre-informed about the attack".

In 2009, helicopter-borne U.S. special forces killed senioral Qaeda militant Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in a raid in southernSomalia. Nabhan was suspected of building the bomb that killed15 people at an Israeli-owned hotel on the Kenyan coast in 2002.

The United States has used drones to kill fighters inSomalia in the past. In January 2012, members of the elite U.S.Navy SEALs rescued two aid workers after killing their ninekidnappers.

Shabaab leader Ahmed Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abual-Zubayr, has described the Nairobi mall attack as retaliationfor Kenya's incursion in October 2011 into southern Somalia tocrush the insurgents. It has raised concern in the West over theoperations of Shabaab in the region.

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