First Published: 2012-09-27

 

Clinton suggests Qaeda link in attack on US mission in Libya

 

Confusion reigns as Clinton appears to suggest for first time that militants close to Qaeda are linked to attack on US mission in Libya.

 

Middle East Online

‘Terrorists are seeking to extend their reach’

NEW YORK - Confusion reigned Wednesday as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared to suggest for the first time that militants close to Al-Qaeda were linked to an attack on a US mission in Libya.

During a speech to a high-level meeting on the crisis in the West African Sahel region, Clinton warned the vast desert area was becoming a powder keg with militants moving into the lawless area and creating instability.

"For some time, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other groups have launched attacks and kidnappings from northern Mali into neighboring countries," Clinton told the meeting, convened by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

"Now with a larger safe haven, and increased freedom for maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions.

"And they are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions underway in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi," she said.

Some reports maintained Clinton was explicitly saying that Al-Qaeda militants were behind the September 11 assault on the US mission in Benghazi, in which four Americans, including ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed.

Clinton has already acknowledged that it was a "terrorist attack," but the State Department swiftly denied she was affirming that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb was definitely linked to the assault.

"Don't read more into what the secretary said than she actually said," a senior State Department official said.

"What she actually said is that AQ in the Maghreb is working with other violent extremists to try to undermine democratic transitions under way in Africa.

"This something that we've known. This is something that we have been watching."

Questions have swirled about who was behind the Benghazi attack, with the Obama administration and the State Department initially maintaining it arose out of a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islam Internet video.

The explanations about the events surrounding the attack have changed over the past several days, with the White House eventually acknowledging it was an act of terrorism.

The FBI is conducting its own investigation into the attack, and Clinton has also opened an official review into whether proper security measures were taken.

"With regard to the specific issue of who was responsible for the Benghazi attack, as everybody in the administration has said, we can't go beyond our preliminary statements until we have the results of the FBI investigation," the State Department official said.

 

Two Danes stabbed by man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Gabon

UN considers rejecting Trump Jerusalem decision

Israeli air traffic halted due to strikes

Iran's schools suffocate in smog

Christmas in Jordan dimmed by Jerusalem crisis

Turkey slams Austria ‘discrimination’

Tunisia elections delayed

Istanbul summit strong on the rhetoric, weak on concrete steps

Morocco’s Islamists elect new leader, walking away from predecessor’s populism

Palestinians call for protests against Pence Jerusalem visit

Palestinian billionaire detained in Saudi Arabia

Egypt opens Rafah crossing for four days

Turkey court releases 7 suspects in New Year attack trial

Palestinian activist killed in Gaza protests

Foreign fighters a worry as IS struggles to survive

Over half Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in 'extreme poverty'

Palestinians killed in continuing protests over Jerusalem occupation

Bourita: Extraordinary meeting between ECOWAS, Morocco to be held beginning of 2018

Saudi-led air strikes, clashes as Yemen forces battle rebels

Sahel force funding shows terrorism fight is Saudi 'priority'

UN 'appalled' at mass execution of jihadists in Iraq

Iraq's Sistani says Hashed should be under government control

Middle-class Egypt adapts as costs soar

Somalia's budget meets IMF terms

Israel PM questioned in graft probe

US says Iran supplied ballistic missile to Yemen rebels

Lebanon approves bid for oil, gas exploration

US to present 'irrefutable evidence' of Iran violations

Istanbul 'to remove Gulen links' from street names

Iraq hangs 38 jihadists

Pence to visit Middle East despite controversy

Hamas chief calls for continued Jerusalem protests

EU to repatriate 15,000 migrants from Libya in two months

Syria Kurds fear US ally will desert them after IS defeat

Israeli drugmaker Teva to cut 14,000 jobs over two years

Turkey rescues 51 migrants stranded on rocks

Saudi, UAE hold talks with Yemen Islamists

18 killed after bomber strikes Mogadishu police academy

Israeli air strikes target Hamas military facilities

US-led air strikes kill 23 civilians in Syria

Israel union calls nationwide strike over pharmaceutical giant job cuts

UN envoy urges Putin to press Assad for elections

Yemen's Huthi rebels release pro-Saleh media staff

Israel intelligence minister invites Saudi prince to visit

Saudi-led strikes kill 30 in rebel-run Yemen prison