Abu Yahya al-Libi

There are multiple individuals alleged to be associated with al Qaeda, whose name contains some variation of al Libi (the Libyan); see Al Libi (disambiguation).

Abu Yahya al-Libi (Arabic: أبو يحيى الليبي,  audio ; c. 1963,[1] Marzaq[2] – June 4, 2012),[3] born Mohamed Hassan Qaid,[4] was an Islamist terrorist and leading high-ranking official within al-Qaeda, and an alleged member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.[1][5][6]

He is believed to have been able to speak Urdu, Pashto and Arabic[1] and to have used the aliases Hasan Qaiid (Hasan Qayad or Hassan Qayid), Yunis al-Sahrawi,[5][7] and Hassan Qaed al-Far.[8]

Al-Libi was a citizen of Libya, who was held in extrajudicial detention in the Bagram interim detention facility.[9] At that time, American counter-terrorism analysts asserted that al-Libi was a member of al Qaeda. Al-Libi was one of several high-profile Bagram captives who escaped on the night of July 10, 2005.[5][6][9]

Jarret Brachman, a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), states of al-Libi:

He’s a warrior. He’s a poet. He’s a scholar. He’s a pundit. He’s a military commander. And he’s a very charismatic, young, brash rising star within Al-Qaeda, and I think he has become the heir apparent to Osama bin Laden in terms of taking over the entire global jihadist movement.[5]

Scheuer states of him that he "in the last year or so emerged as al-Qaeda's theological hardliner" and an "insurgent-theologian"[6] He was also an official on al-Qaeda's Shariah Committee.[10]

The United States targeted him with a drone strike on June 4, 2012 in Mir Ali where he was killed.[11] His death was later confirmed by the al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a video released in September 2012 to coincide with the 9/11 anniversary.[12]


The nisba patronymic of "al-Libi" suffixed to his name indicates that the bearer or his ancestors were from Libya. Al-Libi was born 1963,[1] but Scheuer believes there is little "information available about al-Libi beyond his record as an insurgent",[13] His elder brother, Abd al-Wahhab Muhammad Qaid (Abu Idris al-Libi)[14][15] is one of the most senior members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group[16] and currently the head of the National Border Guard for southern Libya.[17]

Al-Libi went to Afghanistan in the early 1990s[5] and whilst bin Laden was an engineer and al-Zwahiri a doctor, al-Libi is said to have been an Islamic scholar who "spent two years in Africa studying Islam".[5] It is believed that after going to Afghanistan in the 90's, he "was sent back to northern Africa to study Islam in Mauritania."[5]

As detailed below, he was imprisoned by both Pakistani and U.S. authorities. He claimed to have studied Islamic law, history and jurisprudence "for years among excellent and great scholars" who were in the field with al-Qaeda and other Islamist insurgent groups.[13]

It is stated that "When he returned two years later" [from his Islamic studies in Mauritania, Africa], "Afghanistan was no longer a battleground for militant Libyans, but rather a haven: the Taliban controlled most of the country. Mr. Libi’s training in warfare was minimal, and his early work as a preacher rarely touched on militant action, according to the Libyan man who said he had met Mr. Libi in Afghanistan, and who spoke on condition of anonymity out of security concerns. “He started to visit training camps and talk about Shariah,” or Islamic law, this man said in a telephone interview, about “morals, etiquette, how to act.”[5]

Capture and escape

Al-Libi was a citizen of Libya, who was captured by ISAF forces in the Invasion of Afghanistan[1] a year after 9/11 (Pakistani authorities and turned over to American authorities, who eventually put him in the Bagram prison.)[5] and was held in extrajudicial detention in the Bagram interim detention facility.[9] American counter-terrorism analysts assert that al-Libi was a member of al Qaeda.

Al-Libi was one of several high-profile Bagram captives who escaped on the night of July 10, 2005.[5][6][9] Early reports on the 2005 escape from Bagram Airbase included al-Libi's name as one of the escapees.[7] Posters around the airbase identified "the Libyan, Mohammad Hassan Abu Bakar" as one of the escapees, but did not mention high-ranking al-Qaeda leader Omar al-Faruq as one of the escapees.[18] – later reports removed the Libyan from the list of escapes and inserted al-Faruq.[19]

On November 4, 2005, al-Libi appeared in a Ramadan video on the Arabic television station al-Arabiya, and mentioned that he had escaped from Bagram.[7]

He was re-listed as an escapee, and as of October 2006 was listed among the Department of Defense's "Most Wanted", and a Terrorist Recognition Card repeated the earlier claim that he was indeed among the four escapees.[1] In addition, the name off the Airbase posters was added as an "alias".[1]


Al-Libi produced a series of propaganda videos.[9] On May 30, 2007 a 45-minute video, starring al-Libi came to light.

On June 22, 2008 Abu Yahia Al Libi released a 19-minute video urging Somalis to resist United Nations forces in Somalia.[20]

Bryant Neal Vinas, an American, took part in 2008 with other masked fighters in an al-Qaeda propaganda video featuring al Libi.[21] Vinas was captured in November 2008, and pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to murder and to receiving military training from Al Qaeda murder and providing them with material support.[22]

Al-Libi also appeared in a July 2009 video from al-Sahab entitled, "Swat: Victory or Martyrdom," about the Pakistani military's campaign against Pashtun militias and jihadi groups in the Swat Valley. On March 12, 2011 al-Libi urged his countrymen to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi's regime and establish Islamic rule, expanding the terror network's attempts to capitalize on the wave of unrest sweeping the region.[23] That was put on in a video posted on a militant website.

Video releases

Previous reports of death

It was reported by Pakistani sources on December 11, 2009 that Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed in a U.S Drone strike in Pakistan; however, later reports identified the man killed as Saleh al-Somali.[24]


On June 5, 2012, U.S. officials confirmed that Libi was among 15 militants killed the previous day when a US drone fired four missiles at a compound in Mir Ali, North Waziristan.[25] Additionally, The White House later confirmed it.[26] His death was later confirmed by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a video released in September 2012 to coincide with the 9/11 anniversary.[12]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Terrorist Recognition cards: Afghanistan/Pakistan" (PDF). Dia.mil. February 17, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  2. "The List established and maintained by the 1267 Committee with respect to individuals, groups, undertakings and other entities associated with Al-Qaida". 1267 Committee. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  3. Martha Radditz and Muhammad Lila (June 4, 2012). "Drone Strike Targets Top Al Qaeda Leader". ABC News. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
  4. EL-SHENAWI, EMAN. "Dead or alive: Who is al-Qaeda's Abu Yahya al-Libi?". Al Arabiya News. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 New York Times, Rising Leader for Next Phase of Al Qaeda’s War, April 4, 2008
  6. 1 2 3 4 Scheuer, Michael F. Part1 and Part 2
  7. 1 2 3 BBC News: Key 'al-Qaeda militant' surfaces
  8. SITE Intel Group: SITE Publications – Names and Information of Twelve Detainees in Bagram Prison in Afghanistan from Sheikh Abu Yehia al-Libi
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 "Al-Qaida escapee from U.S. detention in Afghanistan lashes out at U.S. Saudi allies". Boston Herald. May 30, 2007. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved June 5, 2007.
  10. http://news.siteintelgroup.com/component/content/article/6-jihadist-news/510-al-qaeda-official-addresses-libyans
  11. "White House: Al Qaeda No. 2 leader is dead". CNN. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  12. 1 2 "Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri confirms the death of his deputy Abu Yahya al-Libi". news.com.au. September 11, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  13. 1 2 "Interview with Abu Yahya al-Libi," http://www.tajdeed.org, June 21, 2006, referenced in Scheuer, Michael F. Part1 and Part 2
  14. "Libya Releases Remaining LIFG Members – Including 'Adb Al-Wahhab Muhammad Qaid, Brother Of Al-Qaeda Commander Abu Yahya Al-Libi". Middle East Media Research Institute. February 2011.
  15. Jarret Brachman (March 25, 2010). "Today I Interviewed Abu Yahya al-Libi's Older Brother, Abd al-Wahhab Muhammad Qaid (Abu Idris)".
  16. Delivered Into Enemy Hands – US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi’s Libya. Human Rights Watch. September 6, 2012. p. 26. ISBN 1-56432-940-2.
  17. Tucker Reals (September 13, 2012). "What's behind violent anti-U.S. protests in Muslim nations?". CBS News.
  18. Wiseman, Paul (July 12, 2005). "4 terror suspects escape from U.S. base in Afghanistan". USA Today. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  19. Schmitt, Eric; Golden, Tim (December 4, 2005). "Details Emerge on a Brazen Escape in Afghanistan". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  20. "Al-Qaida urges Somalis to fight UN". Associated Press. June 22, 2008. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
  21. Rotella, Sebastian; Meyer, Josh (July 24, 2009). "A young American's journey into Al Qaeda; Bryant Neal Vinas of Long Island, N.Y., tells investigators how he trained and fought alongside terrorists.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  22. Rashbaum, William K.; Mekhennet, Souad (July 22, 2009). "L.I. Man Helped Qaeda, Then Informed". New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  23. Reuters (March 13, 2011). "Al Qaida commander backs Libyan rebels in message". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  24. "Sources: Drone Killed Top Qaeda Operative". CBS News. December 11, 2009.
  25. Adam Brookes. "BBC News Article". BBC. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  26. "CNN News Article". CNN. Retrieved June 7, 2012.

External links

Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Abu Yahya al-Libi
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/4/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.