Jump to search Jump to main navigation Jump to main content Jump to footer navigation

Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

Produced by
NationalJournal logo

Head of Libyan Group Linked to Benghazi Attack Remains Free

The leader of the Libyan extremist group believed to be behind the deadly assault last month on a U.S. diplomatic complex in Benghazi has yet to be arrested, after being spotted at the scene during the attack, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Two high-ranking Libyan security officials said Ansar al-Shariah founder Ahmed Abu Khattala remains at large; he is reported to espouse an ideology similar to that of al-Qaeda's terrorist network. The Sept. 11 attack left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

The U.S. government is weighing options for retaliating against the attackers. However, one concern is the possibility that any moves against Ansar al-Shariah could backfire by encouraging greater public support for extremist Islamist groups like it and the regional al-Qaida affiliate.

"Tripoli is far away, and we aren't going to start a civil war here by ourselves," one Libyan official interviewed by the Journal in Benghazi said.

The United States is studying options for sending drones into the North Africa region and has not ruled out the possibility of a covert retaliatory attack against the extremists involved in the Benghazi assault.  Still, U.S. officials would prefer to go through national governments and regional entities in bringing the perpetrators to justice, according to the newspaper.

Evidence of complicity in the Benghazi strike by individual extremist group members is not yet strong enough for a response attack to be conducted, according to U.S. officials. 

"It's not like strikes are in the cards right now," one anonymous official said.

Note to our Readers

GSN ceased publication on July 31, 2014. Its articles and daily issues will remain archived and available on NTI’s website.

NTI Analysis

  • Sub-Saharan Africa 1540 Reporting

    Jan. 9, 2014

    The UNSCR 1540 implementation process in sub-Saharan Africa has been slow. As of October 2011, 26 of the 48 states in the region have submitted 1540 national reports.

  • Latin America and the Caribbean 1540 Reporting

    Nov. 8, 2013

    This report is part of a collection examining implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in Central America, South America and the Caribbean to-date.

Country Profile

Flag of Libya

Libya

This article provides an overview of Libya’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

Learn More →