Report: Al Qaeda, Ansar al-Shari'a Coordinated Benghazi Attack
Intelligence sources told the U.S.-based Fox News network over the weekend that growing evidence has made it clear the attack two weeks ago on the U.S. consulate in Libya was coordinated between Al Qaeda and Ansar al-Shari'a terrorists.
On Friday night, pro-government Libyan protesters torched vehicles that were full of ammunition and stormed the headquarters of the Islamist Ansar al-Shari'a militia group in Benghazi. The demonstrators stormed the group's headquarters and evicted terrorists from the site in a sweep of militia bases in Benghazi, witnesses told reporters.
The intelligence sources cited by Fox News over the weekend said the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi had clearly appeared to be a pre-planned, “coordinated assault” by some 100 operatives. The attack came in two waves, according to the sources, who confirmed earlier reports that rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and mortar shells were fired at both the consulate and the “safe house,” and apparently with the assistance of an insider.
Libyan officials are “absolutely convinced” the attack was pre-planned, the sources told Fox News. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other American diplomats were murdered by terrorists during the attack. The consulate and a number of vehicles were also torched and destroyed.
The report further discredited claims by the Obama White House that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was a “spontaneous” response to the trailer of an amateur anti-Islam video translated into Arabic that ignited worldwide fury among Muslims.
The trailer, posted to the Internet and broadcast on Egyptian television the weekend prior to September 11, inspired violent riots against U.S. embassies and consulates in countries with Muslim populations. Some 40 people were murdered by Muslim extremists who used the video, produced in the United States, as their excuse.
According to the sources, Ansar al-Shari'a is an umbrella group that coordinates a number of splinter organizations, including Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The group, which is sympathetic to the goals of Al Qaeda, has attempted to establish a Shari'a state, or caliphate, in eastern Libya but failed. The security situation in Libya remains somewhat chaotic, especially in the eastern section of the country, following the "Arab Spring" revolution in which the 40-year regime of former dictator Col. Muammar Qaddafi was toppled.