Libya says US consulate attack ‘pre-planned’
Benghazi, Libya – The attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans and ten Libyans was the work of “experienced masterminds” that had been planned well in advance, the Libyan president says.
“I think this was al-Qaeda,” President Mohamed al-Magarief told Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid on Friday, in his first interview with foreign media since the violence three days earlier.
“If you take into account the weapons used like RPGs and other heavy weapons, it proves that it was pre-planned,” he said. “It’s a dirty act of revenge that has nothing to do with religion.”
His comments to Al Jazeera marked the first time his government has openly attributed acts of violence to religious extremists. Libya’s deputy interior minister had blamed the attack on Gaddafi loyalists on Wednesday. While Gaddafi loyalists maintained a presence inside Libya, Magarief said, there was no chance that they were behind the attack that killed four US consular staff members.
There were only a few al-Qaeda members active in Libya, he said, but they were profiting from the security vacuum and had managed to infiltrate the security forces.