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Top al-Qaeda militant arrested in Africa
( 2002-03-18 11:18 ) (7 )


A senior al-Qaeda militant listed by the United States as one of the world's 22 most dangerous men has been captured in Africa, a senior US official told NBC News on Sunday.

Anas Al-liby was captured at least three weeks ago and is imprisoned in Egypt. He is believed to be a senior member of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network and is accused of masterminding the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.

The FBI has offered a US$25 million reward for the arrest of Al-Liby, a Libyan national who has lived in Britain, and placed him on its list of 22 most-wanted terrorists.

Al-Liby is believed to be the first of the list, issued after the Sept. 11 attacks, to have been captured alive. He is thought to have extensive computer skills, and US officials will try to use him to explain al-Qaeda's use of the Internet and encrypted computer files to communicate with terrorists around the world, the US official told NBC News on condition of anonymity.

London's Sunday Times newspaper reported that Al-Liby is being held in a high-security prison in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and that the United States and Sudan were in negotiations about a possible handover to US custody. There was no immediate explanation for the contradictory reports.


The Times said that in the days after Sept. 11, between 30 and 40 al-Qaeda members were secretly rounded up in Sudan and flown to Egypt. A further 10 were arrested last month, including Al-Liby.

The suspect lived in Manchester, northern England, before fleeing Britain two years ago as an arrest warrant was issued for him by the United States, the paper said.

British police tracked him down to his home in May 2000, but he had left by the time they raided it, the Sunday Times said.

Among possessions found at his flat was a manual entitled "Military Studies in the Jihad against Tyrants," the paper said.

A Scotland Yard spokesman in London declined to comment on the story.

The most senior al-Qaeda member known to be held by US authorities is another Libyan, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who was captured on the Afghan-Pakistani in December while fleeing the US-led attack on the Tora Bora mountains.

One other man on the most-wanted list, top al-Qaida member Mohammed Atef, was reported killed in a US bombing raid on his home in Afghanistan.



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