Abu Anas al-Libi

Nazih Abdul-Hamed Nabih al-Ruqai'i,[name 1] known by the alias Abu Anas al-Libi[2] (/ˈɑːb ˈɑːnɑːs ɑːl ˈlbi/ (About this soundlisten) AH-boo AH-nahs ahl LEE-bee; Arabic: ابو أنس الليبي‎  Libyan pronunciation: [ˈæbu ˈʔænæs əlˈliːbi]; 30 March 1964; or 14 May 1964 – 2 January 2015), was a Libyan under indictment[3] in the United States for his part in the 1998 United States embassy bombings. He worked as a computer specialist for al-Qaeda.[4] He was an ethnic Libyan, born in Tripoli.[5]

Abu Anas al-Libi
Nazih Abdul-Hamed Nabih al-Ruqai'i

30 March 1964; or 14 May 1964[1]
Died2 January 2015 (aged 50)
New York City, United States
Other namesNazih al Raghie, Anas al Sebai, Nazih Abdul Hamed Al-Raghie

His aliases in the indictment are Nazih al Raghie and Anas al Sebai. In the FBI and United States State Department wanted posters,[1][6] another variant of his name is transliterated Nazih Abdul Hamed Al-Raghie.

The indictment accused al-Libi of surveillance of potential British, French, and Israeli targets in Nairobi, in addition to the American embassy in that city, as part of a conspiracy by al-Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

Involvement with al-QaedaEdit

Al-Libi was believed to have been tied to al-Qaeda since its 1994 roots in Sudan.[7] In 1995, al-Libi was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom, after a failed Al-Qaeda plot to assassinate Hosni Mubarak, then president of Egypt. An Egyptian request for extradition was declined on the grounds that al-Libi would not receive a fair trial. In 1996, MI6 allegedly paid a Libyan Al-Qaeda cell to kill Colonel Gaddafi. Al-Libi would have been allowed to stay in return for aiding the alleged plot, which was unsuccessful.

In 1999, al-Libi was arrested by Scotland Yard and interrogated. However, he was released because he had cleared his hard drive and no evidence could be found to hold him. He evaded a team that was sent to follow him and fled to Afghanistan. His flat in Manchester, where he was a student, was searched by police, who discovered a 180-page handwritten manual, translated from Arabic to English, which became known as the Manchester Manual.[8]

Al-Libi spoke Arabic and English. He had a scar on the left side of his face.[1] Because he was tall and bore a passing resemblance to Osama bin Laden, he was often used as a decoy when Bin Laden traveled.[7]

Conflicting reports of whereaboutsEdit

In January 2002, news reports stated that al-Libi had been captured by American forces in Afghanistan.[9] In March 2002, it was reported that he had been arrested by the Sudanese government and was being held in a prison in Khartoum.[10] U.S. officials soon denied those reports[11] and al-Libi was still sought.[1]

Al-Libi had been on the USA's list of Most Wanted Terrorists since its inception on 10 October 2001. The United States Department of State, through the Rewards for Justice Program, offered up to US$5,000,000 (formerly $25,000,000) for information about the location of Abu Anas al-Libi.[12]

In February 2007, a Human Rights Watch document claimed that al-Libi and others "may have once been held" in secret detention by the CIA.[13]

On 7 June 2007, al-Libi, who remained on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list, was listed as a possible CIA "secret prisoner" by Amnesty International, without providing details or evidence.[14]

In September 2012, CNN reported that al-Libi returned to Libya after being imprisoned in Iran for seven years.[15][16]

Captured by the United StatesEdit

Al-Libi was captured in Tripoli, Libya, on 5 October 2013 by U.S. Army Delta Force operators, with the assistance of FBI agents and CIA officers. He was seized in a pre-dawn raid and removed from Libya. The US Navy's DEVGRU conducted a simultaneous raid in Somalia targeting the alleged mastermind of the Westgate shopping mall attack in Kenya, possibly to avoid either action sending the other target into hiding.[17][18][19] A day after Al-Libi was captured, he was in military custody on the ship USS San Antonio in the Mediterranean Sea.[20] On 10 February 2014, a 30 seconds CCTV video showing U.S. commandos capturing al-Libi was published by The Washington Post.[21][22] According to strategist and counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen, the collapse of Ali Zeidan's government and the ensuing "fragmentation of Libya [...] resulted, in part, from the raid al-Libi's capture".[23]

Court appearanceEdit

On 15 October 2013, al-Libi appeared in a Manhattan federal court and pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges, including helping to plan the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.[24] He was held without bail due to concerns that he was a flight risk and a danger to the community.[25] His trial, along with his co-defendant Khalid al-Fawwaz, a.k.a. "Khaled Abdul Rahman Hamad al Fawwaz," a.k.a. "Abu Omar," a.k.a. "Hamad," was scheduled to begin on 3 November 2014, before Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.[26]

He was scheduled to stand trial in New York on 12 January 2015.[27][28]


Abu Anas al Libi died on 2 January 2015 at a hospital in New York, aged 50, while in the United States custody.[29] He reportedly had liver disease as a result of hepatitis C, and liver cancer.[27][30] Upon his death his wife said "I accuse the American government of kidnapping, mistreating, and killing an innocent man. He did nothing."[31]

Personal lifeEdit

al-Ruqai'i was a married father of four boys.[32][33] He was believed to have been connected to Ramadan Abedi, the father of Salman Abedi, the perpetrator of the Manchester Arena bombing.[34]


Romanised Arabic Notes
Nazih Abdul-Hamed Nabih al-Ruqai'i نزيه عبد الحمد نبيه الرقيعي The surname is spelled الراجعي in the UN list.
Anas al-Libi أنس الليبي
Anas al-Liby أنس الليبي His wanted poster referred to him by this name.[1]
Abu Anas al-Libi أبو أنس الليبي Some Arabic press reports referred to him by this name.
Anas al-Sebai أنس السباعي
Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Raghie نزيه عبد الحمد الراغي


  1. ^ Arabic: نزيه عبد الحميد نبيه الرقيعي‎  Libyan pronunciation: [næˈziːh ˈʕæbdəl ħæˈmiːd næˈbiːh əlruˈqeːʕi]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Most wanted list web page for Anas Al-Liby". FBI. Archived from the original on 31 August 2013.
  2. ^ Kirkpatrick, David D.; Kulish, Nicholas; Schmitt, Eric (5 October 2013). "U.S. Raids in Libya and Somalia Strike Terror Targets". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  3. ^ Copy of indictment Archived 6 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine USA v. Usama bin Laden et al., Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies
  4. ^ Benjamin, Daniel; Simon, Steven (2002). The Age of Sacred Terror. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-375-50859-7.
  5. ^ "US commandos raid terrorist hideouts in Libya, Somalia, capture senior al Qaeda official". NBC News. 5 October 2013. Archived from the original on 24 May 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Wanted Poster on al-Liby". Rewards for Justice. Archived from the original on 5 September 2006. Retrieved 26 April 2007.
  7. ^ a b Ressa, Maria (2003). Seeds of Terror. New York: Free Press. p. 165. ISBN 0-7432-5133-4.
  8. ^ Gardham, David (28 October 2011). "CIA 'used Manchester manual to justify water boarding'". The Telegraph. London.
  9. ^ "Who's who in al-Qaeda". BBC News. 19 February 2003. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  10. ^ Top al-Qaeda man 'held in Sudan', BBC News, 19 March 2002
  11. ^ I'm Not the Man You're Looking For, Wall Street Journal, James Taranto, 20 March 2002
  12. ^ Wanted Poster on al-Liby (English) Archived 5 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Rewards for Justice
  13. ^ Ghost Prisoner, Human Rights Watch, February 2007
  14. ^ USA: Off the Record. U.S. Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances in the "War on Terror" Amnesty International, 7 June 2007
  15. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Senior al Qaeda figure 'living in Libyan capital'". CNN. 27 September 2012. Archived from the original on 28 October 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  16. ^ Spencer, Richard (7 October 2013). "Al-Qaeda leader seized in Libya was innocent pizza restaurant worker in Britain, son says". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Man Sought In '98 Attacks on Embassies Is Seized". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  18. ^ "Embassy bombings figure nabbed by Delta Force in Libya". CBS News.
  19. ^ David D. Kirkpatrick (6 October 2013). "Al-Libi capture, a long wait for U.S." The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  20. ^ Weiser, Benjamin; Schmitt, Eric (6 October 2013). "U.S. Said to Hold Qaeda Suspect on Navy Ship". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  21. ^ "Taken in 30 seconds: Video shows U.S. capture of suspect Anas al-Libi". CNN. 11 February 2014.
  22. ^ Martin, David (10 February 2014). "U.S. capture of terror suspect al-Libi seen in rare video". New York: CBS. CBS News. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  23. ^ D. Kilcullen, Blood year: terror and the Islamic State, Quarterly Essay 58 (2015), p.78 ISSN 1832-0953.
  24. ^ "Abu Anas al Libi, al Qaeda suspect nabbed in Libya, pleads not guilty to terrorism charges". CBS News. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  25. ^ Feyerick, Deborah (16 October 2013). "Alleged al Qaeda operative Abu Anas al Libi pleads not guilty". CNN. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  26. ^ "International Terrorism Defendant Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court". Washington D.C.: United States Department of Justice. 19 September 2014. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2015. Two co-defendants, Khalid al Fawwaz, a.k.a. "Khaled Abdul Rahman Hamad al Fawwaz," a.k.a. "Abu Omar," a.k.a. "Hamad," and Anas al Liby, a.k.a. "Nazih al Raghie," a.k.a. "Anas al Sebai," are scheduled to commence trial on Nov. 3, 2014, before Judge Kaplan. The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
  27. ^ a b Benjamin Weiser and Michael S. Schmidt (3 January 2015). "Qaeda Suspect Facing Trial in New York Over Africa Embassy Bombings Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2015. The man, Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, 50, who had liver cancer, was taken to a hospital on Wednesday from the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he was being held pending a trial that was to begin in Manhattan a week from Monday.
  28. ^ Kevin Johnson (3 January 2015). "Accused plotter of U.S. Embassy bombings dies in N.Y." USA Today. Retrieved 3 January 2015. His trial had been set to start Jan. 12.
  29. ^ Karadsheh, Jomana (3 January 2015). "Alleged al Qaeda operative Abu Anas al Libi dies in U.S. hospital, family says". CNN. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  30. ^ Jonathan Dienst and Robert Windrem (3 January 2015). "Suspected Plotter of U.S. Embassy Attacks Abu Anas Al-Liby Dies". NBC News. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  31. ^ Maggie Michael (3 January 2015). "Libyan Charged in 1998 US Embassy Bombings Dies". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 4 January 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  32. ^ "Libyan accused in 1998 US embassy bombings dies before trial". Al Jazeera America. 3 January 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  33. ^ Chris Stephen (8 October 2013). "Son of Abu Anas al-Liby describes capture of al-Qaida suspect in Libya". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  34. ^ Chris Osuh (17 September 2017). "The making of a monster: How Manchester boy Salman Abedi became a mass murderer". Manchester Evening News.

External linksEdit

  • Andrew Lynch (7 October 2013). "After interrogation on warship, al Libi's next stop could be U.S. court". Fox4KC. Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2014. But Forest questioned how much valuable intelligence al Libi would be able to provide his captors. A former jihadist associate told CNN it was unlikely al Libi was still playing an active role with the terrorist network, and his wife said he had been living a normal life and was seeking a job with the Libyan oil ministry.