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2012 Benghazi Attack

9:40 Attack Begins

11 Sep, 2012

Reports by Libyan Guards

Five of the compound guards were employees of the British security company Blue Mountain, and three others were members of the Islamist-leaning February 17th militia. At around 9:30 p.m. the four guards at the compound entrance were eating sandwiches and talking about a recent soccer game.

After hearing yells of “God is Great!” outside the walls, one of the guards goes out to investigate. He immediately hears RPG explosions and sees a large group heading toward the compound. Outnumbered and outgunned, the four abandon their posts, with two fleeing south to Building C. The other runs towards the cantina where a grenade explodes nearby, sending hot shrapnel into his leg. A group of attackers passed him on the way to encircling the cantina. They shoot him twice in the leg. Others beat him so hard he loses consciousness. He awakened later in the Benghazi Medical Center.1

One of the guards at the rear gate runs toward the cantina where he saw Ambassador Stevens’ bodyguard running across the lawn towards Building C, but when he arrives, two Americans who had accompanied Stevens from Tripoli slam the door on him. A guard who was stationed at another observation point approached the cantina from the northeast side and heads toward the kitchen. He sees “two black men” who spent most of the next hour holed up in the cantina, squatting on the floor with their rifles pointed at the door as they make and receive phone calls. Meanwhile, near the swimming pool behind the C Building, a group of attackers corners a guard belonging to the February 17th militia that was helping to secure the compound. He pleads with them not to “spill his blood” and the attackers led him out of the compound.

Northwest of the cantina, at the February 17th barracks, a militia member hears the American diplomatic security agents on the radio urging them to attack the intruders, but there are too many. About 15 men jump over the main gate, open it, and let dozens more in. Within minutes of arriving at the compound’s perimeter, the attackers have overrun it. A group of attackers headstowards the barracks where two guards had barricaded themselves in. Loud explosions and gunshots are heard everywhere. The attackers wear vests covered with grenades. They throw many grenades into and around the compound. One of the guards shoots an intruder.

Locked out of the cantina, a guard runs south towards the TOC, hiding behind a sandbag levy. But, after 20 minutes, one of the attackers finds him and others quickly gather around. They hit his head repeatedly as they taunt him, accusing him of not being a Muslim and say that he has been helping people who are against Allah and who “say bad things about the Prophet”. The attackers drag him to the front of Building C where 15-to-20 men continue to beat him until one of the crowd jumps in to protect him and leads him out of the compound.

The attackers find two guards in the laundry room behind the C villa. The guards try to negotiate with the attackers before unlocking the door, but when they get in, the intruders beat them and pull their hair for 10 minutes. According to the guards, one man who was shouting orders and hitting them ferociously, stood out among the others because he was wearing “Afghan” garb – a long baggy robe with pants underneath. The guards think he does not dress or look like a Libyan. This man says the guards are not Muslims and have to die. After 10 minutes of insults and beatings, the attackers tell the guards to leave the compound. By this time there are about 100 people at the compound entrance, some wearing Afghan clothing. The remaining guards are lead out of the compound where they take some blows and are then taken to their cars and drive off.

  1. Time – The Other 9/11: Libyan Guards Recount What Happened in Benghazi