Ringleader in Benghazi attack captured alive

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Fill photo of attack scene

WASHINGTON, DC — (CNN) — U.S. forces working with the FBI captured a key suspect in the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, a U.S. official told CNN Tuesday.

Libyan militia leader Ahmed abu Khattalah was captured over the weekend, the official said. His is the first arrest in connection with the attack.

He is now being held in a location outside Libya, the official said.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed Tuesday that the U.S. military and law enforcement personnel captured abu Khatallah on Sunday, and that he is in U.S. custody outside of Libya.

There were no civilian casualties in the operation, and all U.S. personnel involved in the operation have safely departed Libya, Kirby said.

Last year, federal prosecutors filed sealed charges against abu Khattalah over the Benghazi attack, in which scores of militants using rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons attacked the compound.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. citizens died in the attack, which became a political flashpoint.

The Benghazi incident raised questions about security measures at the compound, and whether President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had heeded prior warnings about possible assaults. Those questions still endure, especially as Clinton is perceived as considering a run for the presidency in 2016.

Last January, a Senate Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi said the panel’s majority believed that attack was “likely preventable” based on known security shortfalls at the facility and prior warnings.

In early May, House Speaker John Boehner pressed questions about the administration’s handling of consulate security and announced he would form a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack. Boehner’s announcement came after previously unreleased documents, including an e-mail from a White House national security aide, raised questions about what the Obama administration knew about the armed assault and how it responded in the days after.

The attack on the Benghazi consulate occurred on September, 11, 2012, eleven years to the day after the terror attacks on U.S. soil that killed 2,977 people. The diplomatic mission was assaulted and burned, and an attack later that night involved mortar and rocket fire against a U.S. diplomatic annex in the city.

The attack was first portrayed as violence by an angry mob responding to a video made in the U.S. that mocked Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, but officials later determined the incident to be a terrorist attack.

TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


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  • Kit

    Good job by the US sneaky police. What will certain Republican cable news channels have for news without the Benghazi story?

  • Ted

    ((( (( ( BHENGAZI ) )) ))) The fox entertainment news’ battle cry….. I expected the posts to be littered with republican conspiracy rhetoric. What happened?

  • Joe

    He will claim that the internet video made him do it, then Obummer will release him back to the wild, just as the last set of 5 top commander terrorists. More to follow.

  • Joe

    He was hiding in plain sight, Obummer captured him now in order to distract from IRS missing emails sandals outlining the attack by them on American people. The OBummer/Holder bloody knife is still in our backs, Obama will probably trade this guy and an A-10 for a Palestinian popcorn vendor with ingrown toenails and halitosis.