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Delta Force - Libya Capture Op

On the 5th of October 2013, a small team of US special operators carried out a rendition operation in Libya. Their target was Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, also known as Abu Anas al-Libi. Al-Libi is a Libyan with ties to Al Qaeda. He was on the U.S.'s most wanted terrorist list for his suspected role in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Africa.

Abu Anas al-Libi.
photo : FBI

Al-Libi's whereabouts since the late nineties, when he was briefly in British custody, are somewhat unclear. Various rumors had him captured by the US in 2002 and later, Iran. It's believed that Al-Libi returned to Libya's capital, Tripoli in 2012, where he would reside until the US tracked him down.

In a pre-dawn raid on the morning of October 5th, as al-Libi's car pulled up outside his family home, it was forced to stop by several other vehicles. Inside these vehicles were operators from the US Army's Delta Force, the CIA and the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team (HRT).

Footage of the operation, captured on a CCTV camera installed on a nearby building, was later released. In the video, it can be seen that a white van which had been trailing al-Libi's vehicle, pulls alongside it while another car blocks al-Libi's forward path. The van's doors open and several armed operators came out, weapons drawn. In a flurry of well-rehearsed actions, the operators pull their quarry from his car and bundle him into the van. The van, the blocking car and al-Libi's car are then driven quickly off. Another vehicle, one that had been idling some way down the roa during the grab, can then be seen moving quickly down the street, in the same direction as the exfiltrating grab team. It is likely that this third vehicle is part of the grab team, and was employed to block the road to other traffic during the operation.

Al Libi was driven to a Libyan military base. A day after his capture, al-Libi was in custody aboard a U.S. warship in the Mediterranean Sea. He later appeared in court in New York, where he pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges, including helping to plan the 1998 embassy attacks.

USS San Antonio
Al-Libi was taken to the USS San Antonio (LPD-17), a landing platform dock that was waiting in the Mediterranean Sea.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky/Released

The Delta Force operation took place at the same time as a Navy SEAL operation to capture a terrorist target in Somalia. Officially, the two operations were unrelated and the timing a coincidence, although it may be speculated that the raids were carried out simultaneously to prevent the remaining target from going into hiding.

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