New details emerge on US ambassador’s assassination in Benghazi

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The military prosecution in eastern Libya revealed new details about the killing of US Ambassador Chris Stevens as well as three American diplomats in the eastern city of Benghazi in 2012, but also disclosed the names of those involved in his assassination.

This came as part of a press conference held on Wednesday evening by the Chief of the Military Prosecution in Benghazi, Colonel Ali Madi, in which he confirmed that "the terrorist leader imprisoned in the United States Ahmed Abukhattala, senior official in the Al-Qaeda organization Mukhtar Belmokhtar, and the leader of Ansar al-Sharia Muhammad al-Zahawi are the masterminds behind the attack on the US Consulate in September 2012 in Benghazi ".

He declared that: "Ahmed Abukhattala, commander of the Abu Ubaida Brigade, is also behind the assassination of the American teacher Ronnie Smith in Benghazi in December 2013.”

Concerning the details of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Madi stated that "a meeting was held in one of the terrorists’ houses in the al-Sabri region with Abukhtala, and Sufyan Ben Qamu, senior leader of the al-Qaeda branch in Derna, being among the attendees”.

He affirmed that "The meeting discussed the necessity to carry out an operation against US interests, and the US diplomatic representatives in Benghazi were chosen as the attack’s targets in conjunction with the events of September 11", and exposed the investigations to have proven that "the goal was originally to kidnap Ambassador “Chris Stevens” and not kill him for the purpose of exchange him with the terrorist Khaled Ben Shiba who is currently in Guantánamo.”

Madi further asserted that this terrorist group "exploited the crisis of the cartoons mocking the Prophet and mobilized a number of protesters in order to demonstrate in front of the embassy, and then moved from different angles with 4 armed groups, the first group was composed by Ansar al-Sharia led by Muhammad al-Zahawi, the second was under the command of Abu Ubaida brigade’s leader Ahmed Abukhattala, and the third group was headed by Mukhtar Belmokhtar.

The Chief of the Military Prosecution added that "During the protests in front of the embassy, the terrorist groups clashed with the Embassy’s security forces and when they withdrew, the embassy was stormed and bombarded with” RPG” grenades. Once Stevens’s assassination was discovered, orders were given to withdraw following the failure of the Ambassador's abduction plan ".

Based on these new facts, the military prosecutor in Benghazi asked the US authorities "to communicate with them in order to cooperate in arresting fugitive terrorists behind assassination."

On September 11, 2012, an armed group led an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi and the Libyan security forces charged with the protection the building failed to repel the assault. Fire broke out on its grounds killing the US Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was asphyxiated along three other consular officials.

The United States blamed the attack on Ahmed Abukhattala, who was arrested during a raid by US Special Forces in Libya in June 2014 and brought to America to face 22 years in prison. The Special Forces also succeeded to capture during a secret operation in Misrata, the senior leader in the Shura Council of Derna, Mustafa al-Imam, for his alleged role in the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi.