Fact Checks

Did the Navy Seals who died in the Benghazi attack kill 60 jihadis?

28 Jan, 2013

CLAIM

On October 26, a claim that the two Navy SEALS who had died in the 2012 Benghazi Attack had killed 60 jihadis started on twitter.

The first mention is:

The twitter posts referenced a blog post which says:

Not knowing exactly what was taking place, the two SEALs set up a defensive perimeter. Unfortunately Ambassador Stevens was already gravely injured, and Foreign Service officer, Sean Smith, was dead. However, due to their quick action and suppressive fire, twenty administrative personnel in the embassy were able to escape to safety. Eventually, these two courageous men were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers brought against them, an enemy force numbering between 100 to 200 attackers which came in two waves. But the stunning part of the story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force. Once the compound was overrun, the attackers were incensed to discover that just two men had inflicted so much death and destruction.

As it became apparent to these selfless heroes, they were definitely going to lose their lives unless some reinforcements showed up in a hurry. As we know now, that was not to be. I’m fairly certain they knew they were going to die in this gun fight, but not before they took a whole lot of bad guys with them!

However, this text was taken from another blog called “Roots in Ripon” written by ex-Marine, Dr. Charles R. Roots, Senior Pastor, Ripon Free Methodist Church.

In this original post the claim has no supporting sources that tell where the claim originated.

BACKGROUND

Glen_Doherty_Tyrone_Woods_5

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the attack on the Benghazi mission. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to “stand down.”

According to Fox News, Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack.About 16 Libyan militiamen accompany them. They attempt to secure a perimeter around Stevens’ building and take turns going inside. The TOC agent who has been manning the phones joins his colleagues outside of Building C. All the agents at this point are suffering from smoke inhalation. The agent that had been in the building originally with the Ambassador is very, very severely impacted, the others somewhat less so, but they can’t go back in. The remaining agent, the one that had come from the TOC, freshest set of lungs, goes into the building himself, though he is advised not to, as do some members of the quick reaction security team.

The agent makes a couple of attempts to find Stevens but cannot proceed. He takes his shirt off and dips it in the nearby swimming pool and wraps it around his head, goes in one last time, but still can’t find the Ambassador. Nobody is able to find the Ambassador.

Taking fire, the Libyan forces determine they can’t hold the perimeter. A decision is made to evacuate the compound and return with everyone to the reaction force’s compound. Agents pile into an armored vehicle with Smith’s body and leave through the main gate. They face immediate fire. Crowds and groups of men block two different routes to the security compound. Heavy traffic means they are traveling only about 15 mph and trying not to attract attention. On a narrow street they reach a group of men who signal for them to enter a compound. They sense an attack and speed away, taking heavy fire from AK-47 machine guns at a distance of only two feet and hand grenades thrown against and under the car. Two tires are blown out.
They speed past another crowd of men and onto a main street and across a grassy median into opposing traffic. The agents drive against traffic, eventually reaching their compound at around midnight

Return to the CIA Annex

Tyrone Woods was joined at the scene by fellow former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, who was sent in from Tripoli as part of a Global Response Staff or GRS that provides security to CIA case officers and provides countersurveillance and surveillance protection. Woods, Doherty and at least two others were based at the CIA annex and were protecting CIA operators who were part of a mission to track and repurchase arms in Benghazi that had proliferated in the wake of Muammar Qaddafi’s fall. Part of their mission was to find the more than 20,000 missing MANPADS, or shoulder-held missiles capable of bringing down a commercial aircraft. According to a source on the ground at the time of the attack, the team inside the CIA annex had captured three Libyan attackers and was forced to hand them over to the Libyans. U.S. officials do not know what happened to those three attackers and whether they were released by the Libyan forces.

The Quick Reaction Force arrived from Tripoli at the Benghazi airport at 2 a.m. (four hours after the initial attack on the consulate) and was delayed for 45 minutes at the airport because they could not get transportation, allegedly due to confusion among Libyan militias who were supposed to escort them to the annex. A motorcade of dozens of Libyan vehicles, some mounted with 50 caliber machine guns, belonging to the February 17th Brigades, a Libyan militia which is friendly to the U.S., finally showed up at the CIA annex at approximately 3 a.m.

The team gets into firing positions around the CIA Annex and on the roof. They take more gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades intermittently for several hours. They call again for military support. The request is denied. According those present, there were no communications problems at the annex – the team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters.

Attack on CIA annex

Around 4 a.m.Note: The NYT report says the time is 2 a.m. which is incorrect. The attack started after the GRS arrived., just as they were assembling to be taken to the airport, gunfire erupted, followed by the thunderous blasts of falling mortar rounds. The attackers had lain in wait, silently observing as the rescuers, including eight State Department civilians who had just landed at the airport in Benghazi, arrived in large convoys. This second attack was shorter in duration than the first, but more complex and sophisticated. It was described as ambush. The attack lasts about five minutes.

At least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA Annex. According to Fox News, the security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Specter gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours — enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.

At 4 a.am Woods and Doherty were killed just outside the villa’s front gate by a mortar round that struck the roof of the building, where the Americans had scrambled for cover.

“It was really accurate,” Fathi al-Obeidi, commander of special operations for a militia called Libyan Shield, who was there that night, said of the mortar fire. “The people who were shooting at us knew what they were doing.” They also escaped, apparently uninjured.

DISCUSSION

Results of searches on ’60 Jihadis’ or ’60 jihadis Killed’

Newslines conducted a number of Google searches related to the claim and could find no original reporting that mentioned the killing of 60 jihadis by the Navy Seals.

Contact with originating blog

A request was made to the originating blog for clarification on September 27.

CONCLUSION

1. There have been no verifiable reports that the Navy SEALS killed 60 jihadis

2. Witnesses said that the CIA Annex attackers escaped ininjured

RESULT

FALSE

Change log: Nov 1: Changed from “UNVERIFIED, FALSE” to “FALSE” based on NYT story.

 

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