World Bulletin / News Desk
The US Department of State announced Friday that it designated three Ansar al-Shariah groups as foreign terrorist organizations, holding two of them in Libya responsible for the deadly attacks on the US mission in Benghazi in 2012.
The designation means the groups’ assets in the US are frozen and US citizens are prohibited from offering them material support.
The raid on the US mission in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 led to the deaths of four Americans, including the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.
“Created separately after the fall of the Qaddafi regime, Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi and Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah have been involved in terrorist attacks against civilian targets, frequent assassinations, and attempted assassinations of security officials and political actors in eastern Libya, and the September 11, 2012 attacks against the US Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya,” said the State Department in a statement released to the press.
Ahmed Abu Khattalah, a "senior leader" of the Benghazi group, and Sufian bin Qumu, the leader of the Darnah organization, were designated as foreign terrorists.
"Members of both organizations continue to pose a threat to US interests in Libya," said the State Department.
Bin Qumu was held in detention at US facilities in Guantanamo Bay until he was transferred to Libyan authorities in 2007. He was released the following year.
In addition to the two Libyan groups, the State Department also designated Ansar al Sharia in Tunisia, and its leader Seifallah Ben Hassine, following their alleged role in the September 14, 2012 attacks on the US Embassy and American school in Tunis.
“Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia, which is ideologically aligned with al-Qaeda and tied to its affiliates, including [al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb], represents the greatest threat to US interests in Tunisia,” said the State Department.Last Mod: 11 Ocak 2014, 09:59