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
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0920 GMT (1720 HKT)
Our whole solar system appears to be inside a searing gas bubble, scientists say.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0002 GMT (0802 HKT)
One journalist murdered, another still being held by ISIS -- a ransom negotiator talks to CNN about the delicate business of trying to get a hostage home alive.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
The accidental killing of a gun instructor raises an "absurd question," writes Mel Robbins.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
ISIS has made surprise gains in Iraq and Syria in recent months, but may begin to suffer setbacks on the battlefield.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
The fear of Russian invasion is receding but peace may still be tricky to find.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 2157 GMT (0557 HKT)
The signs exist that indicate U.S. airstrikes into Syria are on the way.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.