Abu Faraj al-Libi (أبو الفرج الليبي) (also transliterated al-Libbi ) is an assumed name or nom de guerre of a Libyan alleged to be a senior member of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. His real name is thought to be Mustafa al-'Uzayti. He was arrested by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on May 2, 2005, in Mardan (30 mi (48 km) north of Peshawar). Finding al-Libi was a joint effort of the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) Special Activities Division and Pakistan's Special Forces.
Since September 2006, al-Libbi has been held in American military custody in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, having previously been held at some secret location.
According to the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, he served as the third in command of al-Qaeda, from the 2003 capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to his own capture in 2005.
In approximately 2000, al-Libbi was living in the Karte Parwan district of Kabul, Afghanistan.
In August 2004 Pakistani officials stated that al-Libbi had become "number three" in al-Qaeda as "director of operations", a role once filled by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Upon al-Libbi's arrest on May 2, 2005, U.S. and Pakistani authorities continued to claim him as the third most important figure in al-Qaeda. According to the BBC and Voice of America (VOA) reports, he was riding pillion on a motorbike when he and his driver were ambushed by Pakistani agents, some of whom were wearing burqas. A VOA reporter from Mardan said that while being apprehended, al-Libbi tried to destroy a notebook, which U.S. agents took and have tried to decode.
US agents had been trying to find al-Libbi as a link to finding Osama bin Laden. After they intercepted a mobile phone call made by him, they targeted his location to a busy road a quarter of a mile away on the outskirts of Mardan, about 75 mi (121 km) northwest of Islamabad, and tipped-off Pakistani authorities. Plainclothes Pakistani agents arrived in Mardan and waited for him to arrive.
Abu Faraj al-Libbi was identified by Pakistani authorities as the main planner of the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot. He is also a suspect in two assassination attempts against Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf. According to the New York Times, "Mr. Libbi's suspected accomplice in those attacks was a well-known Pakistani militant named Amjad Farooqi, who was also implicated in the murder of the 'Wall Street Journal' reporter Daniel Pearl in February 2002. Mr. Farooqi was killed last September in a shootout with security forces in southern Pakistan.".
In the early reporting of this capture, there was confusion between the names and identities of Abu Faraj al-Libbi and another wanted al-Qaeda fugitive, Anas al-Liby. Al-Libi is not a surname, but an adjective, meaning the Libyan. Such adjectives of nationality are used in nicknames, and sometimes to resolve ambiguity; they often have several alternative English transliterations.
- ^ a b c Press release about Abu Faraj and 13 other suspects, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
- ^ Bush: CIA holds terror suspects in secret prisons, CNN, 7 September 2006
- ^ "Detainee Biographies" (PDF). Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Archived from the original on date=2009-08-31.
- ^ Shephard, Michelle, "Guantanamo's Child", 2008.
- ^ Al Qaeda has new operational chief: analysts, CTV, 20 August 2005
- ^ Hunt on for bin Laden's latest No. 3 man - US Security, MSNBC, 7 September 2004
- ^ /0,,1851859,00.html Duncan Campbell, "Pakistan says al-Qaida link to plot found", The Guardian, 17 August 2006
- ^ Pakistan Reports Arrest of a Senior Qaeda Leader, New York Times, 5 May 2005
- ^ "Security Sources: The U.S. Confused "Abu Anas" with "Abu Faraj" al Libi", ABC News, 5 March 2007
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