People of Northwest Public Radio
Fri October 19, 2012
Suspect In Libya Attack Denies Involvement, Is Living In Open
Not only is Ahmed Abu Khattala saying he wasn't part of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, but the man who witnesses and officials have said was "a ringleader" that night is living openly and "scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments," The New York Times reports.
And, the Times adds, "just days after President Obama reasserted his vow to bring those responsible to justice, Mr. Abu Khattala spent two leisurely hours on Thursday evening at a crowded luxury hotel, sipping a strawberry frappe on a patio."
Foreign Policy's Mideast Channel blog reports that Abu Khattala is "the leader of Libya's Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia. ... Witnesses have reported seeing Abu Khattala at the [attack] site, but his exact role is unclear, as is whether or not he shared leadership with others. ... Having not yet established central control of security since last year's revolution, Libyan authorities rely on local militias for law enforcement. The government-allied militias say that haven't been directed to arrest Abu Khattala, and the government is concerned about exacerbating tensions between rival militia groups."
The Associated Press adds that "Abu Khattala said that, despite reports of his involvement, he had not been questioned by Libyan authorities and was not in hiding, and that he was going about his daily business as a construction contractor in Benghazi."