U.S. Forces Capture Alleged Benghazi Attack Leader Who Had Met Openly With Journalists

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 17 2014 12:11 PM

U.S. Forces Capture Alleged Benghazi Attack Leader Who Had Met Openly With Journalists

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Inside the Benghazi compound on September 11, 2012.

Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images

United States forces have captured "one of the ringleaders" of the 2012 terrorist attack on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead, the Washington Post reports. He is the first suspect in the attacks to be apprehended:

The officials said Ahmed Abu Khattala was captured near Benghazi by American troops, working alongside the FBI, following months of planning, and was now in U.S. custody “in a secure location outside Libya.” The officials said there were no casualties in the operation, and that all U.S. personnel involved have safely left Libya.

Khattala's alleged involvement in the attacks was already known, and, in fact, he had met openly with several journalists. It was speculated that the United States was hesistant to arrest him because such an aggressive move would create retaliation that could cause the destabilization of Libya's post-Qaddafi government.

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Officials told the Post that Khattala is "en route" to the U.S. for arraignment in Washington, D.C., though it's not known when he will arrive. (ABC reports that he is being held on a Navy ship in the Mediterranean.) The Benghazi incident is a contentious political topic in Washington, with House Republicans having recently launched a special committee to pursue the latest in a long line of investigations into how the attack occurred and who (in the Obama administration) is to blame for its resulting fatalities.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

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