Official: US military captures militant believed to have role in Benghazi attack

 

WASHINGTON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - U.S. forces have captured a militant who is believed to have played a role in a 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, three U.S. officials said on Monday.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that U.S. Special Operation Forces captured the militant in Libya in the past few days.

Two of the officials identified him as Mustafa al Imam and said he had played a role in the attack and the ambassador's death.


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The officials said the man was now in the custody of the Department of Justice and being transported back to the United States by the military.

They added that the operation was authorized by President Donald Trump and had been carried out in coordination with the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord.

In a statement, Trump said al Imam "will face justice in the United States for his alleged role in the September 11, 2012 attacks."

The appropriate Congressional committees and the families of the Americans killed in the 2012 attack had also been notified, the officials said.

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.

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

Khatallah had been awaiting trial since 2014, when he was captured by a team of U.S. military and FBI officials in Libya and transported on a 13-day journey to the United States aboard a Navy vessel. (Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Grant McCool)

10 PHOTOS
Benghazi Attacks during and after
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Benghazi Attacks during and after
A car vehicle burns after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. An armed mob protesting over a film they said offended Islam, attacked the US consulate in Benghazi and set fire to the building, killing one American, witnesses and officials said. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/GettyImages)
A vehicle sits smoldering in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. An armed mob protesting over a film they said offended Islam, attacked the US consulate in Benghazi and set fire to the building, killing one American, witnesses and officials said. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/GettyImages)
An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. An armed mob protesting over a film they said offended Islam, attacked the US consulate in Benghazi and set fire to the building, killing one American, witnesses and officials said. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/GettyImages)
A vehicle and the surrounding area are engulfed in flames after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. An armed mob protesting over a film they said offended Islam, attacked the US consulate in Benghazi and set fire to the building, killing one American, witnesses and officials said. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/GettyImages)
(FILES) This file photo taken on September 11, 2012 shows a vehicle and the surrounding area engulfed in flames after it was set on fire inside the US mission compound in Benghazi. A long-awaited inquiry into a deadly militant attack on the US mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi late on December 18, 2012 slammed State Department security arrangements there as 'grossly inadequate.' But the months-long probe also found there had been 'no immediate, specific' intelligence of a threat against the mission, which was overrun on September 11 by dozens of heavily armed militants who killed four Americans. AFP PHOTO / FILES (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows the damage inside the burnt US consulate building in Benghazi on September 13, 2012, following an attack on the building late on September 11 in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other US nationals were killed. Libya said it has made arrests and opened a probe into the attack, amid speculation that Al-Qaeda rather than a frenzied mob was to blame. AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo credit should read GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/GettyImages)
A picture shows damage inside the burnt US consulate building in Benghazi on September 13, 2012, following an attack on the building late on September 11 in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other US nationals were killed. Libya said it has made arrests and opened a probe into the attack, amid speculation that Al-Qaeda rather than a frenzied mob was to blame. AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo credit should read GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/GettyImages)
A picture shows damage inside the burnt US consulate building in Benghazi on September 13, 2012, following an attack on the building late on September 11 in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other US nationals were killed. Libya said it has made arrests and opened a probe into the attack, amid speculation that Al-Qaeda rather than a frenzied mob was to blame. AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo credit should read GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/GettyImages)
An armchair and parasol float in the swimming pool of the US consulate in Benghazi on September 13, 2012, following an attack on the building late on September 11 in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other US nationals were killed. Libya said it has made arrests and opened a probe into the attack, amid speculation that Al-Qaeda rather than a frenzied mob was to blame. AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo credit should read GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/GettyImages)
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