US forces capture Benghazi attacks suspect in Libya
31 Oct 2017 - 10:54
WASHINGTON: U.S. forces have captured a suspect in the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead, the White House said Monday.
"Yesterday, on my orders, United States forces captured Mustafa al-Imam in Libya," said President Donald Trump in a written statement. "Because of this successful operation, al-Imam will face justice in the United States for his alleged role in the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi."
The attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi led to the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and State Department official Sean Smith. Two CIA contractors – Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty – were both killed in a neighboring CIA annex.
“I want to thank our law enforcement, prosecutors, intelligence community and military personnel for their extraordinary efforts in capturing and delivering them (attackers) to the U.S. for prosecution,” Trump said.
Sending his condolences to the families of the victims, Trump said the U.S. will continue to support Libya to ensure that terrorist groups do not use the country as a safe haven for attacks against U.S. citizens, interests and Libyans.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also praised the operation to capture al-Imam, saying the U.S. would spare no effort to ensure that justice is served.
Tillerson said the Department of State family continues to mourn the loss of the victims and said he spoke with some of their family members to underscore the U.S. government’s unwavering support.
In addition, Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised that al-Imam "will face justice in federal court for his role in the attack".
"We will never forget those we lost -- Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Ambassador Christopher Stevens -- four brave Americans who gave their lives in service to our nation," Sessions said in a statement.
"We owe it to them and their families to bring their murderers to justice."
In 2014, one of the main suspects behind the attack, Ahmed Abu Khatalla, was brought to a U.S. federal court in Washington. Khatalla was captured on June 15, 2014 by U.S. special forces in Libya and was transferred to the USS New York in the Mediterranean.
After being questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he was taken to Washington D.C. to be tried in federal court. Khatalla, who has been awaiting trial since 2014, insistently denies killing the Americans or being part of the attack.