Islamic militants in Libya vowed Monday to avenge the weekendby U.S. Special Forces.
In a statement posted to several online portals frequently used by jihadi groups operating in eastern Libya -- including Ansar al-Sharia, which is believed to have been involved in the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic posts in Benghazi which left Ambassador Chris Stephens and three other Americans dead -- the militants vowed to "strike back" at those responsible for the kidnapping.
While acknowledging that U.S. troops carried out the raid to apprehend al-Libi, the statement suggested reprisals would target the Libyan government, or, "those who betrayed their country and got implicated in this conspiracy."
Al-Libi was indicted years ago in a U.S. court for his alleged involvement in bombings on the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998 which left more than 220 people dead.
He was on the FBI's most-wanted terrorists list, with a $5 million bounty on his head, until a team of U.S. Special Forces grabbed him over the weekend. Now, al-Libi is on a U.S. Navy ship in the Mediterranean, where he'll be interrogated until he's handed over to the U.S. justice system to face the charges in a New York court.
There has been no indication that the U.S. military had any local assistance in the operation, and Libya's central government and military have remained in a state of near-paralysis since the ouster and killing of the dictator Muammar Qaddafi two years ago in an Arab Spring-inspired uprising.
Al-Libi's wife and son, however, claimed in news interviews in the wake of the weekend raid that people involved in his apprehension spoke with Libyan accents and appeared to be from the region. It is also unclear to what degree the U.S. government informed the Libyan government that the raid was going to occur -- before or after the fact.
Secretary of State John Kerryon Monday and said a demand from Libya and for a "clarification" was unfounded.
The militants behind the anonymous retaliation threat posted online Monday are the same who fought to topple Qaddafi two years ago, and who haveof vast swathes of eastern Libya in the power vacuum created in his wake. Even since the attack on the U.S. offices in Benghazi, the new, U.S.-backed Libyan government and security forces -- and other, -- have continually come under attack in the country.
"We did not fight Qaddafi to replace him with a traitor or an agent who would hand over our brothers to the apostates and be on their side," said the message posted Monday. "This shameful event will cost the Libyan government dearly."