Monday 18 December 2017

Benghazi suspect in US custody

The aftermath of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya (AP)
The aftermath of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya (AP)

A Libyan militant suspected over the deadly attack on Americans in Benghazi has been captured and is in US custody, the Pentagon says.

Ahmed Abu Khattala, a senior leader of the Benghazi branch of the terror group Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, will be tried in a US court, officials said. He is being held at an undisclosed location.

It is the first time the US has apprehended one of the alleged perpetrators of the September 2012 attack in Libya which killed four Americans including ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Last year, the US filed charges against Khattala and a number of others in a sealed complaint filed in US District Court in Washington.

The Obama administration has come under intense criticism from Republicans for being unable to apprehend those responsible for the attack which saw a group of militants set fire to the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

The Pentagon said the US military, in co-operation with law enforcement personnel, captured Khattala on Sunday.

Officials said there were no civilian casualties related to the operation and all of the Americans involved have safely left Libya.

Mr Obama said Khattala's capture is a testament to the painstaking efforts of US security officials.

He says the US has demonstrated it will do whatever it takes to bring justice to those who harm Americans. The president said in a statement that the US will continue to track down those responsible for the attacks.

He added that the US must support the Libyan people as they work to build democracy.

Press Association

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