Fifteen years after allegedly helping al-Qaeda plot the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Abu Anas al-Libi parked his car on a quiet street in Libya's capital. Within moments, soldiers from the US Army's elite Delta Force forced him at gunpoint into a van and sped away. They'd fly him to a naval ship in the Mediterranean Sea before finally bringing him to New York to stand trial on charges of helping kill 224 people, including a dozen Americans, and wound more than 4,500. But al-Libi, who pleaded innocent to the charges against him, wouldn't live to see his trial start Jan. 12. He died last night at a New York hospital of complications stemming from a recent liver surgery, his wife and authorities said today. He was 50.
Al-Libi, once wanted by the FBI with a $5 million bounty on his head, was chronically ill with hepatitis C when the soldiers seized him. In a federal court filing today, US Attorney Preet Bharara said al-Libi died after being taken from New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center to a local hospital. Al-Libi, which means "of Libya" in Arabic, was his nom de guerre. US prosecutors in 2000 described al-Libi as sitting on a council that approved terrorist operations for al-Qaeda, which would become infamous worldwide a year later after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.