Libya Approved Raid: US Officials
2nd raid to capture Benghazi suspect was called off
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2013 2:48 AM CDT
Updated Oct 9, 2013 6:00 AM CDT
Militants burn an American flag and shout anti-American slogans during a demonstration in Benghazi on Monday.   (AP Photo/Mohammed el-Shaiky)

(Newser) – Despite its complaints about a "kidnapping," the Libyan government gave its tacit approval to the raid that captured al-Qaeda suspect Abu Anas al-Libi and a second raid that never took place, American officials tell the New York Times. The second raid would have been to seize Ahmed Abu Kattalah, a militia leader suspected of leading the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last year. Kattalah had been living openly in Benghazi—where he called the army "too chicken" to arrest him—but has presumably made himself a little harder to find after learning that the US has the ability to conduct raids inside Libya.

After pressure from the US, the Libyans consented to the raids weeks, or even months, ago, but they weren't informed of the exact timing, officials say. In his first public comments on the raid, however, Prime Minister Abu Zeidan said "Libyan citizens should be judged in Libya and Libya does not surrender its sons," CBS reports. The leader, whose government's grip on power is seen as shaky, said the raid wouldn't damage Libya-US relations. "The US was very helpful to Libya during the revolution and the relations should not be affected by an incident, even if it is a serious one," he said. Tensions are high enough, however, that 200 Marines are standing by in Italy.