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.

 

Libya forces launch ‘final battle for Sirte’

Dozens killed as Turkey ramps up unprecedented offensive in Syria

Yemen government cautiously welcomes US peace plan

Iraq officially asks Saudi Arabia to change ambassador

In Saudi city of Najran, Huthis commit war crimes with indiscriminate rockets

Iran arrests 'nuclear spy'

Egypt frees renowned rights lawyer, Malek Adly

Yemen shelling kills three-year-old boy in Saudi border region

Turkey sends more tanks into Syria to bolster military offensive

Turkey arrests former top diplomats over failed coup

Tunisia swears in new premier after approval from parliament

Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian in occupied West Bank

11 Turkish police officers killed in Cizre bomb attack claimed by PKK

French court suspends burkini ban

Tears as evacuation starts in Syria's Daraya

Turkey PM denies Syria operation singling out Kurds

Kerry, Lavrov meet for talks on Syria

Tunisia parliament to vote on cabinet proposal

Kuwait arrests govt employee promoting IS online

Turkey shells Kurdish fighters in Syria after warning

Oil prices fall on Saudi doubt on output cut

Jeddah meeting bears no fruit on Yemen conflict

Kerry in Saudi for talks on regional conflicts

UN Syria envoy expects 'impact' from Kerry-Lavrov meeting

Iraq parliament votes to impeach defense minister

Russia says will cooperate in Syria chemical attacks probe

Iraq forces take key town south of Mosul

Hamas to leave name off ballot in Palestinian elections

Iranian navy in 'unsafe' intercept of US destroyer

Three wounded in PKK attack on Turkey opposition chief's convoy

Erdogan to inaugurate Istanbul's third Bosphorus bridge

China to train Syrian troops

Turkey reinforces ground forces across border into Syria

Turkey says 'every right' to intervene if Kurds fail to withdraw

UN rights chief urges international probe of Yemen violations

Tunisia unity government to remain unchanged

Raped teen who took own life finally gets justice in Morocco

Syria rebels backed by Turkey tanks 'seize' Jarabulus

Libya's presidential council to present new cabinet

Syria regime, Kurds blast Turkish incursion

Biden: Washington told Kurds not to cross Euphrates

Israeli court shuns plea to unchain Palestinian hunger striker

Saudi police foil mosque suicide bombing

Kerry to meet Russia's Lavrov in Geneva on Friday

Kurdish forces in Syria prime target for Turkey