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Taken in 30 seconds: Video shows U.S. capture of terror suspect Anas al-Libi

By Ralph Ellis, CNN
February 11, 2014 -- Updated 1308 GMT (2108 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Video shows U.S. commandos pulling suspect from his car
  • Anas al-Libi is put into a white van and driven away
  • He's accused in the deadly bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa
  • Al-Libi is now being held in New York on conspiracy, murder charges

(CNN) -- A dark car parks in front of a residence in Tripoli, Libya. Immediately, a white van stops next to it.

Men leap from the van and point guns at the car. They yank open the car doors, pull a man out and shove him into the van. The van speeds away.

In less than 30 seconds, the United States had taken suspected al Qaeda member Anas al-Libi into custody.

Dramatic security camera video published Monday in the Washington Post shows U.S. commandos capturing al-Libi last October.

Al-Libi is a top terror suspect. He's accused of playing a key role in the August 7, 1998, bombings of American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which killed more than 200 people and wounded about 5,000.

The video was shot from a vantage point above al-Libi's family home in Tripoli. The family tells CNN's Jomana Karadsheh the video is genuine and was recorded on the family's home security system.

The capture was executed with lightning speed. Digital time on the video shows only half a minute passing between when al-Libi's car stops and the departure of the white van. As the commandos leave, al-Libi's car rolls forward and out of frame, apparently because he didn't have time to put it in park.

Later images show members of the family reacting, running downstairs to the street.

The video was provided only to al-Libi's U.S. lawyers, the family said. Karadsheh and CNN's Nic Robertson, who both visited the location, said the video is consistent with the street outside the family home.

Al-Libi, 49, is now being held in New York. He was indicted in 2001 by the federal court in the Southern District of New York on charges of conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, murder, destruction of American buildings and government property and destruction of national defense utilities of the United States.

His wife said he was no longer a member of al Qaeda, had been living a normal life and was seeking a job with the Libyan oil ministry.

On October 5, the day of the capture, a team of U.S. Navy SEALs in southern Somalia targeted the top leader of Al-Shabaab, which was behind the mall attack in Kenya in September. The SEALs came under fire and had to withdraw before they could confirm whether they killed their target, a senior U.S. official said.

Al Libi trial, Libya and al Qaeda: What you won't hear in court

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