Middle East

U.S. consulate attack 'planned,' 'meticulously executed': Libya assembly chief

Mohamed al-Megaryef, president of Libya's ruling national assembly, gives an interview to Agence France-Presse at his residence in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on September 15, 2012. (AFP PHOTO/ABDULLAH DOMA)

BENGHAZI, Libya: The deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi was planned and "meticulously executed," the country's assembly chief told AFP on Saturday.

"I don't want to talk about what happened in other countries but as for Libya, the operation was meticulously executed," Mohammad al-Megaryef said of the wave of protests across the world over a U.S.-produced film mocking Islam.

"There was planning. It was not a peaceful protest which degenerated into an armed attack or aggression. That's how it was planned," he said.

US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed Tuesday when suspected Islamic militants fired on the consulate in the eastern Libyan city with rocket-propelled grenades and set it ablaze.

"The attack itself and the manner in which the attack occurred ...confirms that this was planned and programmed to achieve a purpose," Megaryef said.

The attack "was prepared, especially since it coincided with the date of September 11," he said in referrence to the September 11, 2011 attacks in the United States claimed by Al-Qaeda.

"I do not exclude discovering things that will link Al-Qaeda and the U.S. consulate attack," said Megaryef but added that it was "very early to talk about the investigation."

U.S. military and intelligence agencies have launched an elaborate manhunt in Libya against the militants suspected of staging the most serious assault on an American diplomatic mission in decades, officials and experts said Friday.

With hi-tech weaponry and surveillance tools, the Pentagon and U.S. spy services have turned their attention to finding those who laid siege to the consulate, using methods honed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere.





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