US ENVOY CHRIS STEVENS KILLED IN BENGHAZI, LIBYA
Chris Stevens, 52, was killed in the attack on the US consulate in the eastern coastal city of Benghazi on Tuesday 09/11/2012 night, the 11th anniversary of The 9/11. A second diplomat, Sean Smith, and two other US officials were killed in the raid. According to reports that emerged overnight, the ambassador became separated from the rest of his staff, including his security detail, during an attempt to escape. He eventually made his way to the roof of the building and succumbed to smoke inhalation, the official said.
A moment captured in distressing photographs which circulated the internet, and only retrieved later by a team of marines sent from the embassy in Tripoli as reinforcements. In the meantime, Mr Smith and two American security officials were shot dead as the remainder of the staff made their way to safety.
Despite initial suggestions that the building was burned down during a protest against a film ridiculing the Prophet Mohammed, distributed in limited forums in USA under the name “Innocence Of Muslims”, witnesses said that was sidelined when a large gang up to 200-strong arrived armed with guns and rocket-propelled grenades, and started firing.
Analysts and former jihadists suggested the attack might have been well-planned and linked to a call earlier in the day by the head of Al Qaeda, Ayman Al Zawahiri, for vengeance for the death of his Libyan deputy Mohammad Hassan al-Liby, aka Abu Yahya al-Libi, in a US drone strike in June. The White House is investigating whether these suggestions could be true.
It may have been the work of Al Qaeda because “the weapons were somewhat sophisticated, and they blew a hole in the building and started a big fire, and that’s how the ambassador died, in a fire,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who heads the Senate intelligence panel, said.
Libya emerged in the post Gaddafi times as an lawless uncontrolled country, with Militias, some of them supporter of Muammar Gaddafi, some of them supporting the idea of Al Qaeda, tribesmen and radical Islamic groups contesting each other over influence, territory, resources and domination. Killing, political assassinations, car bombs and demolishing of Sufi Shrines are a frequent daily event in Libya (see – The lIbyan Test). The chaotic situation in Libya and the lack of law and order is the idyllic situation for Al Qaeda and similar organizations to thrive (thanks to NATO).
Chris Stevens is the first US ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since Adolph Dubs, an envoy to Afghanistan, who was kidnapped and killed during an attempt to rescue him in 1979.
A group called the “Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades”, which attacked both the Red Cross office and the US consulate in Benghazi earlier this year, was being put forward as a leading suspect for the attacks. Its links to a broader Islamist movement called the Ansar Al-Sharia (LIb) will also be the focus of attention.
The commander of one of the main pro-government defence forces operating in Benghazi, the Libya Shield Brigade, Wissam Buhmeid, told Reuters news agency that the Libyan Security personnel around the building may have felt the protesters were justified because of the content of the film.
Earlier on Tuesday, protesters had climbed the walls of the US embassy in Cairo, torn down the American flag and replaced it with an Islamist banner.
Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu, 51, a Libyan, fled libya and since 1993 was active in the border regions between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He was captured by USA forces in Pakistan by the end of 2001. Sufyan Ben Qumu was accused of being a member of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group -LIFG. Ben Kumu was released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2007 and transferred into Libyan custody on the condition that he is kept in jail. His Guantanamo files also show he has ties to the financiers behind The 9/11 Mustafa al-Hawsawi.
The Abu Salim Brigade and Ansar al-Shariaa Militia, based in Derma, said they were leaving the base and it was soon taken over by Libyan Army unite.
* According to the New York Times, on 09/25/2012,the Benghazi attack disrupted a major CIA operation in the North African country. According to the New York Times, at least half of the nearly two dozen US personnel evacuated from the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi following the fatal attack on the US consulate and a secret “annex” were “CIA operatives and contractors.” “It’s a catastrophic intelligence loss,” a US official who had been stationed in Libya told the Times. “We got our eyes poked out.”
The Times report describes the mission of the CIA station in Benghazi as one of “conducting surveillance and collecting information on an array of armed militant groups in and around the city,” including Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist militia that has been linked by some to the September 11 attack, and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM. Actually there were two attacks, one on USA Consulate in Benghazi in which Chris Stevens and Sean Smith were killed, and the second, few hours later on a CIA safe house in Benghazi in which two former Navy Seals Glen Doherty (R) and Tyrone Woods (L), who served as security contractors for the CIA, were killed.
- 03/2012 -THE LIBYAN SPLIT
- 01/2012 -LIBYAN “DEMOCRACY”
- 04/2011 -JIHADISTS ON THE REBEL’S FRONT LINE IN LIBYA
- 03/2011 -AL QAEDA INTEREST IN THE LIBIAN CRIsIS
- PROFILE -WHO IS ABDELHAKIM BELHAJ?