Monday, July 22, 2013

Aftermath of Benghazi

Aftermath of Benghazi: New details emerge of horrific attack that killed U.S. ambassador as support for Al-Qaeda grows in war-ravaged Libya

Eyewitnesses to aftermath of attack speak about death of Chris Stevens

He was killed by extremists linked to Al-Qaeda in September

Libyan Security forces struggle to cope with rise of terrorist organization

More grim details about the terrorist attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans has emerged as Libya admits it is struggling to combat a growing tide of extremism in the country.

Ten months after the deaths at the American diplomatic mission at Benghazi in the north African country, a frightening picture of the attack itself and the desperate security situation in Libya has emerged.

Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans - information management officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods - were killed in a six-hour, commando-style attack on the US Mission in the Libyan city on September 11, for which Al Qaeda in North Africa and Islamist militia Ansar al-Sharia were implicated.
Mr Stevens died from asphyxiation caused by smoke inhalation after a fire raged out of control.

CNN camera crew, visiting Benghazi, has uncovered disquieting new insights into the event.
Correspondent Arwa Damon spoke to a man who filmed the unconscious ambassador being carried out of the compound by civilians, who took him to hospital.

He said: 'I thought it was a driver or a security guy. He had a pulse and his eyes were moving. His mouth was black from all the smoke.'

Damon also spoke to Dr Ziad Abu Zei, who battled to save the ambassador. He said: 'I began resuscitating him but after 45 minutes the patient gave no signs of life.'

The killings shocked the world and sparked a whirlwind of accusations that the Obama administration had ignored repeated warnings about security at the site, as well as raising concerns about the U.S. response response as the battle raged.

Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was the regional security officer in Libya, has since given testimony that he and the late ambassador had repeatedly asked to increase security at the embassy in the months leading up to the attack, but said that their pleas fell on deaf ears as the situation in the country deteriorated. The ambassador himself detailed 'never-ending security concerns' in an e-mail.

Veteran reporter Damon said: 'It's still stunning to see how little protection the compound had.'

The report also chronicled how support for Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaida is on the rise in Libya, as the country makes its first difficult steps after ousting the dictator Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades under his heel.

One officer, speaking after a successful raid on a black market selling guns, drugs and alcohol, called on the government to give Libyan security forces, comprised of various fighting groups from the uprising, more support. 

But one official said progress is slow as the country makes its transition from authoritarian rule.

'We started from below zero, we are not starting from scratch,' he said. 'We're trying to build our own police and our own army, and things will take time.

'We have had 42 years of dictatorship, where people cannot raise their voice and they cannot express their opinions. You will find people with extreme ideas.'

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