Islamist denies role in Benghazi attack

2012-10-19 12:09
<a href=>Shutterstock</a>


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tripoli - A Libyan Islamist militia commander who a witness and officials say helped lead the deadly assault on the US Consulate in Benghazi said on Thursday that he was at the building that night, but denied he was involved in the attack.

Ahmed Abu Khattala, who describes himself as a founder and commander of the Islamist militia Abu Obaida Bin Jarrah, told The Associated Press by telephone that he went to the consulate in the eastern Libyan city on 11 September  to rescue men that he had been informed were trapped inside.

Abu Khattala said that, despite reports of his involvement, he had not been questioned by Libyan authorities and was not in hiding, and that he was going about his daily business as a construction contractor in Benghazi.

US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in the attack. It has become an issue in the US election season, with Republicans accusing the Obama administration of being slow to label the assault an act of terrorism early on, and slow to strike back at those responsible.

US officials' accounts of the night include assailants storming the compound and setting its buildings aflame, American security agents taking fire across more than a kilometre of the city, the ambassador and three employees killed and others forced into a daring car escape against traffic.

A Libyan witness interviewed in the aftermath of the attack by the AP said that Abu Khattala was present directing fighters. The witness spoke anonymously for fear of retaliation.

An AP reporter was also shown a camera photo of a long-haired, long-bearded man who was wearing the Afghan-style robe favored by many radicals and whom other Benghazi residents identified as the 41-year-old militia leader. The consulate's gate with barbed wire could be seen in the background.

The New York Times has quoted unnamed Libyan officials as singling out Abu Khattala as a commander in the attack, calling him a leader in the hardline Islamist Ansar al-Shariah militia. Other Libyan witnesses say they saw Ansar al-Shariah trucks mounted with heavy weapons outside the consulate the night of the attack.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    chris stevens  |  us  |  libya  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Japan victory attracts record TV figures
iPads the secret to Japanese RWC success
Georgia desperate for Namibian win
England's early exit bad for RWC business
Traffic Alerts

It is time to focus on your daily rhythm. Are you putting too much attention on future projects and neglecting the day to more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.