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Libyans evict Islamists from Benghazi HQ

Sept. 21, 2012 at 9:34 PM   |   Comments

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BENGHAZI, Libya, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Libyans protesting the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi took over the headquarters of an Islamist militia Friday, saying they are the "real Libya."

Ten days after U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were murdered in the consulate attack, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Benghazi to express their disgust for the assault by Islamic militants, CNN reported.

"I am sorry, America," one man said. "This is the real Libya."

Several hundred protesters marched to the headquarters of Ansar al-Shariah and asked Libyan troops to take over the building. The protesters then set one vehicle on fire and chased the militants away without firing a single shot, CNN said.

Some protesters said they freed at least 20 people being held inside.

"Indeed, we rushed here and we will now take it over," Army Gen. Naji al-Shuaibi told CNN, calling the protesters the "revolutionaries of the February 17 uprising."

"There are also other places that we intend to take over (that belong to armed groups) if the revolutionaries and the people allow us to do so," he said.

The president of Libya's General National Congress, Mohamed al-Magariaf, thanked the protesters for facilitating the eviction of "armed groups."

Benghazi is viewed as the birthplace of the movement that eventually led to the ouster and death of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

"Somewhere Chris Stevens is smiling," said U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "This is what we knew ... about Libya."

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