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John Kerry claims Libya kidnap 'OK under US law'

Tripoli demands clarification over Delta Force presence on its streets

Secretary of State John Kerry has defended the capture of a senior al-Qaida leader on the streets of the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Mr Kerry claimed that the US operation to seize Anas al-Libi, whose real name is Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, on Saturday was legitimate because it complied with US law.

But Libya was not so sanguine about foreign invasions of its capital, saying on Sunday that it had asked the US for "clarifications" regarding the abduction and adding that Libyan nationals should be tried in their own country.

Mr Kerry insisted that the suspect was a "legal and appropriate target" for the US military and would face justice in court.

He claimed that it was important not to "sympathise" with wanted terrorists.

"I hope the perception is in the world that people who commit acts of terror and who have been appropriately indicted by courts of law, by the legal process, will know the US is going to do anything in its power that's legal and appropriate to enforce the law and to protect our security," Mr Kerry blustered after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at an Asia-Pacific conference in Bali.

Earlier Mr Kerry said that the raids would send the message that terrorists "can run but they can't hide."

He said: "We hope that this makes it clear the US will never stop in the effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror."

Mr Libi is on the FBI most-wanted list with a $5 million (£3.1m) bounty on his head.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said on Saturday that Mr al-Libi was "currently lawfully detained by the US military in a secure location outside Libya."

He is rumoured as being held aboard a US ship where he is being interrogated by US forces.

The US army's Delta Force, which has responsibility for counter-terrorism operations in north Africa, carried out raids in both Somalia and Tripoli at the weekend.

The attacks targeted Islamist fighters who allegedly played a role in the bombings of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, on August 7 1998 that killed more than 220 people.

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