Armed men at the US Consulate in Benghazi killed US Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three embassy staff late Tuesday following a protest by people upset over an American- made film that bashes the prophet Muhammad.
Although initial reports described the events as a demonstration that had spiraled out of control, there are indications that the attack may have been planned, most likely by Islamic radicals who have been gaining ground in Libya.
The fact that it happened on September 11, coinciding with the 11th anniversary of al-Qaida’s attacks on the US, fueled speculation that it was a planned attack, rather than spontaneous violence.
Also, a day before the attack, al-Qaida posted a video online in which acting leader Ayman al-Zawahri acknowledged the death of his Libyan deputy, Abu Yahya al-Libi, back in June in a US drone strike. In the video, posted on various Islamist Internet forums, he called on Libyans to avenge Libi’s death.
During the news conference, Libyan Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif said the attackers were not mere protesters, and had used rocket-propelled grenades and paramilitary equipment.The attack, representing the first time a US ambassador was killed in the line of duty since 1979, is a painful blow to the Obama administration’s attempts to improve its profile in the region."Libya is a state that is not coming together as a functioning entity; it’s a place that’s awash in weapons and militias and different groups that are trying to wrest control,” said Bruce Maddy-Weizman, a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Libya Attack May Have Been Planned
This has just been reported from the Jerusalem Post: