(WASHINGTON TIMES) — U.S. Special Forces captured one of the suspected ringleaders of the deadly terrorist attacks in Benghazi in a secret raid in Libya, Obama administration officials said Tuesday, prompting praise for the military operation and fueling a debate over the prisoner’s legal status.
Ahmed Abu Khatallah was seized Sunday near Benghazi by U.S. troops working with the FBI in a long-planned counterterrorism operation. He is the first person to be captured in the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, a terrorist assault that administration officials falsely blamed at first on anti-U.S. rioting over a video offensive to Muslims.
The precision raid reportedly followed months of planning, and Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said there were no “civilian” casualties in the operation. He said all U.S. personnel involved in the raid, which included the Army’s renowned “Delta Force,” have safely left Libya.