Friday, 14 September 2012

Why they killed the US envoy to Libya

The fact that the attack was not a state sponsored is an indisputable point about the Tuesday gruesome murder of the US envoy to Libya.The Libyan government has condemned the attack in a strong term and also call for a proper investigation to ascertain the group behind the unrest that led to the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and four others.  Amb. Stevens would be the first American Envoy to die in the line of duty since 1979.  It seems the killer of the American Envoy to Libya may have another purpose beyond protesting the movie about Islam. The story below by Bradly Hope and Alice Fordham explains one of the likely angles.


CAIRO and BENGHAZI, LIBYA // There was growing evidence last night that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed the American ambassador to Libya was a planned terrorist operation rather than a protest against an offensive anti-Muslim movie.

Libyan Civilians help Ambassador Christopher Stevens after the attack. Photo Credit: AFP
The attack late on Tuesday followed a call by Al Qaeda to avenge the death of a senior Libyan member of the terrorist network killed by an American drone strike in Pakistan in June.

The ambassador, J Christopher Stevens, 52, died in a rocket-propelled grenade attack on the consulate, along with three embassy staff and several Libyan security guards.

The attack was initially assumed to be part a growing regional backlash against a US-made film that defames the Prophet Mohammed. It followed the burning of American flags in protests at the US embassies in Cairo and Tunis.

Sean Smith, an information management officer, also died in the attack, and 14 Americans and 18 Libyans were injured.

The ambassador was visiting Benghazi to inaugurate an American culture centre in the city. He was the first US ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since 1979.

Several photographs were circulated in Libya yesterday showing Stevens's lifeless, half-dressed body being carried amid a crowd of people. The images show his skin covered in soot, his lips purple and his face grey.

Libyans took the ambassador to a hospital, where doctors concluded he had died of asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation. A doctor who treated him said the ambassador was practically dead when he arrived close to 1am yesterday. "We tried to revive him for an hour and a half but with no success," Dr Abu Zeid said.

Stevens had bleeding in his stomach because of the asphyxiation but no other injuries, the doctor said.

Many of the attackers were from Ansar Al Sharia, an extremist group that has chapters across the region, according to Osama Faitory, a Libyan journalist who witnessed the attack.

The protests were reminiscent of those triggered in 2005 by the publication of 12 caricatures of the Prophet in a Danish newspaper. More than 100 people were killed in riots and attacks on Danish embassies in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon and Iran in the months afterward.

Benghazi, once the cradle of a Nato-backed revolt against Muammar Qaddafi, has become a hotbed of tribal and Islamist militia activity.

On Monday, Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri called on Muslims, especially Libyans, to avenge the killing of Hassan Mohammed Qaed, better known as Abu Yahya Al Libi, a Libyan-born imam who was a key aide to Osama bin Laden.

The US president, Barack Obama, condemned the killings and ordered security to be increased at US embassies around the world.

He praised the Libyan government and Libyan forces who fought back trying to protect American diplomats, who "exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice and partnership with nations and people around the globe".

The UAE Foreign Ministry also condemned the attack, and called for a quick and transparent investigation to bring those responsible to justice.

In Benghazi last night, Ibrahim Shebani, 30, joined about 200 hundred other demonstrators to condemn the attack.

"We want to show the world that what happened yesterday was not Libya. These are not Libyans," he said. "The security is not good. If the city is safe at all it is because of the people. Everyone I know is condemning what happened yesterday."

More than 2,000 protesters also converged on the US embassy in Cairo on Tuesday night, where the American flag was torn down, burnt and replaced with a black flag bearing religious verses. Several protesters scaled the wall surrounding the embassy, but did not venture further inside.

During renewed protests yesterday afternoon, a group of several dozen men demanded that the president, Mohammed Morsi, and other senior Egyptian officials condemn the blasphemous movie

Credit:  the National.ae

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