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Benghazi attack caused by anti-Muslim film, Al-Qaeda not involved - report

Benghazi attack caused by anti-Muslim film, Al-Qaeda not involved - report
There is no evidence suggesting that Al-Qaeda or any other international terrorist organization took part in the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a new report suggests.

The investigation by The New York Times has revealed that it was actually the US-made movie ‘Innocence of Muslims’ that fueled the attack, adding that the assault on the consulate did not appear to be “meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.”

The report is based on interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack and its context.

Months of investigation “turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault,” The Times said.

The report stresses that the attack “was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Gaddafi.”

The September 11 attack on the US consulate in the cradle of the Libyan revolution occurred in the wake of worldwide anti-West demonstrations sparked by an amateur American-made video that ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad. Four Americans - including US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, a State Department worker, and two ex-Navy Seals - were killed in the attack on the loosely-guarded diplomatic mission.

The Obama administration initially placed the blame on the film’s aftermath. However, reports later suggested that Al-Qaeda was behind the attack.

Republicans held numerous hearings in Congress questioning the Obama administration’s handling of the incident, accusing it of misleading the public and suggesting that it downplayed Al-Qaeda's role in the attack.

At a Senate hearing in January, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "We were misled that there were supposedly protests and then something sprang out of that, an assault sprang out of that."

But according to the NYT report, it seems that is exactly what happened.

The paper also states that the Americans were aware of the growing threat from local militants who took part in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

Mohamed al-Gharabi, leader of the Rafallah al-Sehati Brigade, said that he had previously warned the Americans that “since Benghazi isn’t safe, it is better for you to leave now.”

“I specifically told the Americans myself that we hoped that they would leave Benghazi as soon as possible,” he added.