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Monday, December 2, 2013

Analysis: Al Qaeda seeks to spin capture of top operative -- By Thomas Joscelyn, The Long War Journal

Adam Gadahn, al Qaeda's American-born spokesman (left) and Abu Anas al Libi (right). Image from the SITE Intelligence group.

Al Qaeda propagandist Adam Gadahn has released a new video denouncing the capture of a top operative known as Abu Anas al Libi. In the video, titled "The Crime of Kidnapping Abu Anas al Libi and its Repercussions," Gadahn seeks to portray Abu Anas as an innocent who was wrongly detained by US forces in Tripoli on Oct. 5.

Gadahn implies that Abu Anas' capture was a "Wag the Dog" style operation intended to distract the American people from their country's many problems. Yet, he calls on Muslims to strike back as revenge for the "sheikh."

"I say to the people of Libya in particular and the sons of the Ummah in general: Do not leave this criminal coward act to pass without punishment," Gadahn says in the video, which was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group. "Teach the Crusaders a lesson they will not forget. Teach them that the lands of Islam are a red line and that there is no place in them for their soldiers, forces and bases."

Gadahn continues: "Rise and have vengeance against America, the enemy of Islam and the Muslims, and restore to us the glory of Nairobi, Dar es Salam, Aden, New York, Washington, Fort Hood, Benghazi and Boston."

Gadahn's mention of Nairobi and Dar es Salam is curious, given his insistence that Abu Anas was not involved in al Qaeda's twin 1998 bombings in those cities.

The seizure of Abu Anas has been controversial inside Libya, so Gadahn wants to inflame public opinion even further.

"What is required from the good brothers in Libya is not merely symbolic measures, but practical procedures that preserve the sovereignty of the Muslim lands and restores the right to their people and guarantees that such a crime is not repeated in the future," Gadahn says, according to SITE's translation. Al Qaeda's spokesman also dismisses completely suggestions by members of the Libyan government that Abu Anas be tried in his home country.

Role in the 1998 US Embassy bombings established in US court record
Some Western press accounts, based on the testimony of Abu Anas' family, have sowed doubt concerning Abu Anas' role in the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The embassy bombings were al Qaeda's most successful operations prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

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