Rare video: Special Ops snatch al-Qaida suspect off street


The Washington Post has obtained closed circuit video of the capture of one of the most wanted al-Qaida operatives in October. It takes U.S. Special Forces less than 60 seconds to swoop Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, who goes by the nom de guerre Anas al-Libi, off the streets of Tripoli.

As the Trib noted at the time, the swift arrest was an intelligence coup for U.S., which will try Ruqai in New York on terrorist charges for his role in the U.S. embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya. More than 200 were killed in the 1998 attacks.

The video of a seldom-seen secret operation shows Ruqai’s car coming around the corner and stopping in front of his house in the Libyan capital. A van carrying Army Delta Force commandos careens alongside as a second van comes from the opposite direction and pins his car in. A third white van appears at the end of the street. Ruqai is snatched quickly and placed into the first van. The first two vans speed off into the night while a commando appears to take the wheel of Ruqai’s car. The third van follows. But then a fourth van immediately takes its place at the end of the street and watches as Ruqai’s neighbors, friends and/or family members scramble out of the buildings and look down the street. Only then does the fourth van leave.