In a speech in May outlining his strategy for the use of drones, President Barack Obama counted Somalia as among the places where the U.S. and its allies face "lethal yet less capable al-Qaida affiliates."
The commando assaults unfolded against the backdrop of political paralysis in Washington, where the Congress and the White House are locked in battle over budgets but have agreed to keep the military operating and paid on time.
Libya said Sunday it has asked the United States for "clarifications" regarding the capture of al-Libi by U.S. Delta Force commandos.
The Tripoli government said that al-Libi, as a Libyan national, should be tried in his own country. He is on the FBI's most-wanted list of terrorists with a $5 million bounty on his head. He was indicted by the U.S. in November 1998.
In a statement, Libya also said it hoped the incident would not affect its strategic relationship with the U.S., which is evolving in the aftermath of the 2011 ouster of longtime ruler Moammar Ghadafi. Ties were complicated by the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, in eastern Libya.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., a vocal advocate of placing captured high-value terrorist suspects in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, said Sunday that al-Libi should be treated as an enemy combatant, detained in military custody "and interrogated to gather information that will prevent future attacks and help locate other al-Qaida terrorists."
Al-Libi was indicted by a federal court in New York for his alleged role in the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, on Aug. 7, 1998, that killed more than 220 people.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in Indonesia for an economic summit, said the U.S. hopes the raids make clear that America "will never stop in the effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror." He added: "Members of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations literally can run but they can't hide."