Libya’s interior minister has sacked Benghazi security chiefs after last week’s deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in the eastern city, according to official statements seen Monday by AFP.
Deputy interior minister for the eastern region, Wanis al-Sharef, and the head of national security for Benghazi, Hussein Bou Hmida, were both replaced, said two separate statements dated September 12, a day after the attack.
Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed as the Benghazi consulate came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades during a protest against an anti-Islam film made in America.
Libya, U.S. different accounts
Top U.S. and Libyan officials, meanwhile, offered starkly different accounts Sunday about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said it began with a spontaneous protest over the anti-Islamic video that had already set off similar protests in Egypt, leading to the storming of the U.S. embassy there.
“People gathered outside the embassy (consulate) and then it grew very violent and those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons... and that then spun out of control,” Rice told Fox News Sunday.
“But we don’t see at this point signs this was a coordinated plan, premeditated attack. Obviously, we will wait for the results of the (FBI) investigation and we don't want to jump to conclusions before then.”
Announcing the arrest of 50 suspects, Libya’s parliament chief, however, blamed the attack on a few foreign extremists who he said entered Libya from Mali and Algeria and pre-planned it with local “affiliates and sympathizers.”
“The way these perpetrators acted, and moved... leaves us with no doubt that this was pre-planned, determined, predetermined,” Mohammed al-Megaryef, president of the Libyan National Congress, told CBS News.
“It was planned, definitely, it was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago. And they were planning this criminal act since their arrival.”
Ambassador Stevens is believed to have died from smoke inhalation after becoming trapped in the blazing diplomatic compound, which came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and small arms for several hours.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said the attack was revenge for the killing of the terror network’s deputy leader Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi in a drone strike in June, but there is no evidence to support the claim.
The attack against the U.S. mission in Benghazi came on the anniversary of 9/11.