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2012 Benghazi Attack

Reuters: U.S. Officials: Assault was pre-planned

12 Sep, 2012

Reuters reports for the first time that U.S. government officials said that there were indications that members of a militant faction calling itself Ansar al Sharia – translated as Supporters of Islamic Law – may have been involved in organizing the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya’s second-largest city. They also said some reporting from the region suggested that members of Al-Qaeda’s north Africa-based affiliate, known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, may have been involved. “It bears the hallmarks of an organized attack” and appeared to be preplanned, one U.S. official said.”

Some U.S. officials cautioned against assuming that the Benghazi attack, or a similarly-timed violent protest at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, were deliberately organized to coincide with the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks carried out by al Qaeda in Washington and New York. U.S. and European officials said that in contrast to the Benghazi attack, which some investigators say may have been calculated and organized, the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo appeared more likely to have been a spontaneous eruption by a mob.

Reuters also reported that The [[Quilliam Foundation]] a London think-tank run by a former Libyan militant leader suggested that not only was the Benghazi attack “well planned,” but that it may have been retaliation for an American drone attack which killed a Libyan leader of al-Qaeda’s core command group earlier this year. Quilliam said that 24 hours before the Benghazi incident, al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, distributed a video to militant websites in which he confirmed the death of his second in command, known as Abu Yahya al-Libi, and urged Libyans to avenge his killing. Quilliam, whose president, Noman Benotman, once was a leader of an anti-Gaddafi militant faction known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, said that according to its sources, up to 20 militants had prepared for a military assault. Quilliam said the assault on the Benghazi Consulate took place in two waves. After the first wave, U.S. officials arranged an evacuation of the Consulate by Libyan security forces. As the evacuation was taking place, a second wave of attacks was launched against U.S. officials who had already been moved to a supposedly secure location.1

CIA station chief reports attack was carried out by Militants

The CIA station chief in Libya reports to Washington within 24 hours of the attack that there was evidence it was carried out by militants, not a spontaneous mob upset about the anti-Islam video.

  1. Reuters – Libya attack may have been planned and organized