Skip to main content

Report: Tunisian Islamist leader captured in Libya

From Salma Abdelaziz. Yousuf Basil and Jamie Crawford, CNN
December 30, 2013 -- Updated 1628 GMT (0028 HKT)
This file photo shows Seifallah Ben Hussein Mokni (R), also known as Abu Iyadh, leader of Tunisian Salafists at a meeting last year in Tunisia.
This file photo shows Seifallah Ben Hussein Mokni (R), also known as Abu Iyadh, leader of Tunisian Salafists at a meeting last year in Tunisia.
  • Tunisian state media says Libyan and American forces captured Abu Iyadh
  • A Pentagon spokesman say U.S. forces were not involved
  • Ansar al Sharia in Tunisia denies the Islamist group leader's arrest

(CNN) -- The leader of a Tunisian militant Islamist group was arrested in Libya on Monday, state media reported, citing a security source.

Libyan and American forces captured the militant leader, Tunisie Agence Presse reported. But the United States denied any involvement in the reported arrest of Seifallah Ben Hussein Mokni, who is also known as Abu Iyadh and heads Ansar al Sharia in Tunisia.

"Contrary to media reports, U.S. forces were not involved in any operations involving Ansar al Sharia leader Abu Iyadh today in Libya," Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John F. Kirby told CNN.

Would e-mails reveal Benghazi truth?

The Tunisian state media report accused Ansar al Sharia in Tunisia of ties to political assassinations in the country.

Ansar al Sharia in Tunisia denied through its official Twitter account that its leader had been arrested in Libya. The statement said that the "lying media" reported the "false rumors" to "play a dirty game" and influence its members to respond physically.

Ansar al Sharia in Libya, another Islamist militia group, was believed to be involved in the 2012 U.S. Consulate attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

Part of complete coverage on
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
It's a very big challenge but NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan thinks it can be done.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1902 GMT (0302 HKT)
Former supermodel Janice Dickinson accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault, telling "Entertainment Tonight" in an interview aired on Tuesday that the comedian raped her.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 0039 GMT (0839 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert explains how the most recent ISIS video differs from the other previous hostage execution videos.
November 16, 2014 -- Updated 1720 GMT (0120 HKT)
Volunteer fighters in eastern Ukraine dig down just 800 meters from the front line.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1323 GMT (2123 HKT)
The latest ISIS video -- its most barbaric to date -- suggests the terror group is "under siege and struggling," analysts say, warning that the brutality is likely to get worse.
November 14, 2014 -- Updated 0633 GMT (1433 HKT)
Eurostar's e320 will deliver you from London to Paris at 200 mph. Now that's high-speed.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 1731 GMT (0131 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.