Video of al-Qaida Operative's Capture Published

Tuesday, 11 Feb 2014 07:14 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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The Washington Post has published video of the October capture of a suspected, high-ranking al-Qaida operative being whisked off the streets of Tripoli by U.S. forces.

In the grainy 1:48 video, recorded on a closed-circuit camera in Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai’s Libyan neighborhood, the CIA, FBI, and the U.S. Army’s elite Delta Force surprise Ruqai in front of his house as he pulls up in a black car.

Guns drawn, men from inside the white van quickly surround the black car and pull Ruqai from the driver’s seat and put him inside the van. One of the commandos takes the wheel of the black car, and all of the vehicles speed off. A third car, a part of the Delta Force, trails behind. The operation lasts just 31 seconds. The remainder of the footage shows people, presumably family members, fleeing the house.

Story continues after video

Ruqai had been headed home after morning prayers, at 6:38 a.m., before the sun had risen.

According to U.S. authorities, Ruqai played a role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa that killed 12 Americans and more than 200 Kenyans.

After his capture, he was taken to a military base and then to an American warship off the coast, the Post reports. He is awaiting trial in New York, where he pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges.

Immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Ruqai’s name appeared on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list with a reward of $25 million, according to NBC News. The figure was identical to what was being offered for the capture of Osama bin Laden and other senior al Qaida officials. The bounty for Ruqai was later reduced to $5 million.

"He’s one of the last guys from the East Africa embassy bombings who was still out there," a senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC at the time of Ruqai’s capture.

Ruqai, 49, is well-educated. He speaks English and Arabic and studied computer and nuclear science at the University of Tripoli before joining the jihad. He is believed to have had decades-long ties to al-Qaida and bin Laden.

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