WASHINGTON – Tribal sources in Libya have sent to WND photographs purportedly showing Ahmed Abu Khattala – a suspected participant in the 2012 Benghazi attack – being seized by U.S. military commandos and law enforcement agents on June 16 outside Benghazi.
The four photos appear to be frames of a video showing Khattala being led away to the back seat of a four-door pickup truck, with the faces of his captors obscured by white circles strategically placed. The man said to be Khattala is shown with his head circled in red.
The Libyan sources who provided WND the photographs described the capture of Khattala as a kidnapping, claiming Khatalla was lured to a place outside Benghazi, where armed U.S. military commandos and law enforcement agents were waiting to take him into custody.
In reporting on Khattala’s capture, even the New York Times, a source that often defends the Obama administration, said Khattala is a “local, small-time Islamist militant” who has no known connections to international terrorist groups.
Making no attempt to hide, Khattala has been active in Benghazi since the attack on the U.S. compound that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens on Sept. 11, 2012.
On Oct. 18, 2012, seven days after the terrorist attack, Khattala gave an interview to the New York Times in which he was described by the newspaper as “one of the ringleaders of the Sept. 11 attack.”
“But just days after President Obama reasserted his vow to bring those responsible to justice, Mr. Abu Khattala spent two leisurely hours on Thursday evening at a crowded luxury hotel, sipping a strawberry frappe on a patio and scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments,” the Times reported.
In 2013, Khattala told CNN he was willing to meet with U.S. investigators searching for him, not to be interrogated, but to have a friendly conversation just as Khattala claimed he was then having with CNN.
WND’s sources in Libya insist the ringleader on the ground during the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed Stevens is not Khattala, but Ismael Sallabi, a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group who is still at large.
On Nov. 17, 2013, WND identified Abdul Hakim Belhaj, also still at large in Libya, as being an al-Qaida operative who was the principal organizer of the terrorist attack that killed Stevens.
WND also published a photograph from a February 2012 meeting in Libya, showing U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., presenting a plaque to Belhaj depicting in Tripoli what is known as “Green Square,” renamed “Martyrs’ Square” after the revolution that toppled Muammar Gadhafi from power: