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USA forces capture suspect in 2012 attack on American facility in Libya

01 November 2017

His capture followed orders given by Trump to USA forces after the suspect's movements and location had been monitored by the Americans for some time, despite Al Imam operating under different aliases.

In his opening statement, federal prosecutor John Crabb said Khatallah hates America "with a vengeance" and played a leading role in organizing the September 11, 2012, attack on the USA diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

"Our memory is deep and our reach is long, and we will not rest in our efforts to find and bring the perpetrators of the heinous attacks in Benghazi to justice", said Trump.

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A man seized by U.S. forces in Libya accused of involvement in an attack that killed the U.S. Ambassador in Benghazi in 2012 is a Syrian who had links to the suspected ringleader, Libyan military officials said on Tuesday.

Trump expressed gratitude to US law enforcement, prosecutors, intelligence community and military personnel for their efforts to bring him to justice.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that "the Department of State family continues to mourn the loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, and Tyrone Woods, and we will spare no effort to ensure that justice is served for these dedicated Americans and public servants".

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Earlier this month, US prosecutors opened their case against the suspected ringleader, Ahmed Abu Khatallah.

"The murder of four Americans in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, was a barbaric crime that shocked the American people", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a news release. Khattalah was captured in 2013 and had been awaiting trial since 2014. Al-Imam follows the same path as the mastermind of the group that perpetrated the attack. He faces three criminal charges that were filed in May 2015 but only recently unsealed: killing or conspiring to kill someone during an attack on a federal facility, providing support for terrorists, and using a firearm in connection with a violent crime. Two other Americans were also killed in a subsequent attack on a Central Intelligence Agency compound about a mile from the consulate. The U.S. was also monitoring al Imam's location for a period of time, and now that he is held in custody, he is being transferred to the U.S. for prosecution.

The attack on the embassy was the topic of numerous congressional hearings, with Republican lawmakers critical of the way in which then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton responded to the attack.

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USA forces capture suspect in 2012 attack on American facility in Libya