Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

White House Told of Libyan Terrorism Claim on Sept. 11

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

White House Told of Libyan Terrorism Claim on Sept. 11

Article excerpt

TUNIS, Tunisia -- Two hours after the U.S. Consulate came under attack in Benghazi, Libya, the White House was told that a militant group was claiming responsibility for the violence that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

A State Department email sent to intelligence officials and the White House Situation Room said the Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter, and also called for an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.

The document may fuel Republican claims that the White House knew it was a terrorist attack even as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said five days afterward that the assault appeared to be a protest over a U.S.-produced anti-Islamic video gone awry.

Meanwhile, the Tunisian government said Wednesday that it had arrested a 28-year-old Tunisian linked to the U.S. Consulate attack. Interior Ministry spokesman Tarrouch Khaled said the suspect, Ali Harzi, was in custody in Tunis. Mr. Khaled said "his case is in the hands of justice," but did not elaborate.

And in Cairo, a gunman reportedly linked to the U.S. consulate attack in Libya was killed in a shootout with Egyptian police Wednesday, according to state TV and independent news media. The Egypt Independent newspaper reported that the man, whom security officials identified only as Hazem, was described as a terrorist.

The newspaper and the state TV website said the heavily armed suspect was killed after a long gun battle with police in Cairo's Nasr City section. The reports could not be independently confirmed, and there were conflicting reports over the incident. "Security authorities said they had acquired information implicating the man of involvement in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi," the newspaper reported.

State TV and the Egypt Independent reported that the suspect died during the gunfight and a fire. Police reportedly seized bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition from the scene. …

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