"I am sure of what I am saying -- he did not take part in any bombing anywhere in the world," Rahman told CNN's Jomana Karadsheh. "He participated in the jihad in Afghanistan. .... He was a member of al Qaeda and he was personal security for bin Laden -- that's true -- but he did not take part in any operation."
3. Who is Ikrima?
The target of the U.S. raid in Somalia was named Ikrima -- a Kenyan of Somali origin, a senior administration official told CNN. He has been on the U.S. radar for at least three years.
Before dawn Saturday, a team of Navy SEALs zoomed in by speedboat and snuck up on a seaside villa in southern Somalia. Soon afterward, the sounds of heavy gunfire and several large explosions echoed across the port city of Barawe.
After coming under fire, the SEALs made a "prudent decision" to pull back, a senior U.S. official said. They withdrew, unable to confirm whether they killed their target, the official said.
A recent Kenyan intelligence report alleged that Ikrima was behind several foiled terror conspiracies against targets in Kenya between 2011 and 2013.
The most recent was a plot to attack Mandera Airport in Kenya's North Eastern Province in April.
Kenyan officials said last year that Ikrima had a significant role in recruiting and training Kenyans in Al-Shabaab.
He is thought to have been a close associate of the Saleh Ali Nabhan, a fellow Kenyan and senior al Qaeda operative in east Africa, who was believed to have been connected to the embassy attacks. (Ali Nabhan was killed by U.S. forces in 2009 in Somalia.)
Ikrima also appears to be close to Al-Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubayr, who also goes by Ahmed Abdi Godane.
Al-Shabaab, of course, is the al Qaeda-linked militant group based in Somalia. Most recently, it made headlines when it claimed responsibility for the days-long deadly attack at Kenya's upscale Westgate mall in Nairobi in September. At least 67 people were killed in that siege.
4. Were the raids a coincidence or were they coordinated?
The two missions have one thing in common: the 1998 embassy bombings. Al Libi was wanted for his alleged role in attacks. And Ikrima is closely associated with Saleh Ali Nabhan, also accused of being part of the attacks.
But U.S. officials have not talked specifics about the timing.
"Sometimes that depends on the moment of opportunity. You can be watching and then the moment of opportunity comes up and you have to take it," says CNN foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty.
President Barack Obama gave his go-ahead and was updated as the operations proceeded.
The missions, however, are unlikely to help buoy Obama as he battles House Republicans amidst a partial government shutdown.
"I would submit to you right now most Americans remain focused on the economy. They remain focused on the government shutdown and the upcoming debt ceiling lifting or not lifting, depending on what Congress decides to do," CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley said.
But David Rennie of The Economist said the missions are a reminder that "even an American president who is domestically very frustrated wields extraordinary executive powers."
5. Who is next?
The operatives of the 9/11 era are largely dead or captured. And key operatives like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- an alleged 9/11 mastermind -- are detained at Guantanamo Bay.
Topping the list of still-wanted is Ayman al Zawahiri, the leader of al Qaeda. With a $25 million reward on his head, Zawahiri is believed to be hiding in Pakistan.
But some of the biggest targets are part of the new al Qaeda affiliates like Al-Shabaab -- including its top leader, Godane.
"By formally merging with al Qaeda and doing an attack in which Americans were targeted, this group has put itself in the sights of the United States," CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen said.
The United States is also hunting for other emerging terrorist leaders.