Royce: It's about time to list Ansar al-Sharia as terrorist group

Jan. 9, 2014 at 12:41 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said the imminent terrorist designation of Ansar al-Sharia was the right move considering its role in Libya.

The State Department is expected to add Ansar al-Sharia to its list of foreign terrorist organizations. The group was tied to September 2012 consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three members of his staff dead.

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House committee, said Wednesday the terrorist designation is long overdue from President Barack Obama's administration.

"The Obama administration should be doing all it can to hunt down those responsible for this terrorist attack," he said. "I'm gravely concerned that they are not."

The White House was criticized for its handling of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said during her regular press conference Wednesday there were no indications al-Qaida was tied to the Benghazi attack despite its association with Ansar al-Sharia.

The New York Times reported the formal designation of Ansar al-Sharia, along with its leader Abu Sufian bin Qumu, will be announced Friday by the State Department.

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