Consulate attack suspect killed in Egypt

Oct. 25, 2012 at 10:02 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- A man implicated in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was killed in a gunfight with police in Nasr City near Cairo, Egyptian officials said.

The man, described by the Egyptian Interior Ministry as a terrorist, threw bombs at security forces and engaged in a five-hour exchange of gunfire at an apartment building before he was killed Wednesday, the Egypt Independent reported.

Meanwhile, a firestorm is still brewing over the release of diplomatic emails sent from the consulate as it was under attack. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other diplomatic staffers were killed. The debate over who knew what when about the Sept. 11 assault took another twist, when one of the more explosive emails may have been found to be inaccurate, CNN reported.

The emails, released late Tuesday, invigorated an already heated debate about when the Obama administration learned that the attack was the work of terrorists, not a protest over a U.S.-made anti-Muslim video that turned deadly.

An email with the subject line, "Update 2: Ansar al Sharia Claims Responsibility For Benghazi Attack," said in the body that "Embassy Tripoli reports the group has claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli."

However, an examination of Ansar al-Sharia of Benghazi's known Facebook and Twitter accounts doesn't indicate any such claim of responsibility, Aaron Zelin, a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who tracks jihadist websites, told CNN.

Zelin said he was unaware that any such claim was posted on the official Facebook page or Twitter feed of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi.

Zelin said a posting referred to a news conference the al-Qaida-affiliated group had in Benghazi in which it denied any role in the assault. Among other things, the posting said, "Ansar al-Sharia brigade did not officially participate as a military body, nor received any orders directed from the brigade."

Before the possible contradiction in the spot report email and what was posted online by the organization, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz,, and two other Republican senators wrote Wednesday to Obama, saying: "These emails make clear that your administration knew within two hours of the attack that it was a terrorist act and that Ansar al-Sharia ... had claimed responsibility for it."

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