Washington: The attack on the US consulate in Libya, which culminated in the death of American Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American officials, was part of an organised operation that was pre-planned by heavily-armed militants, a senior Libyan security official has said.
Wanis el-Sharef, the eastern Libya`s deputy interior minister, claimed that the attacks were a pre-decided two-part operation, which included a precisely timed raid on a supposedly secret safe house, just as Libyan and US security forces were arriving to rescue the evacuated consulate staff, Stuffz.co.nz reports.
He said the attacks are suspected to have been timed to mark the 9/11 anniversary and the militants used civilians protesting an anti-Islam film as cover for their action. Infiltrators within the security forces may have tipped off militants to the safe house location, he said.
He said an unspecified number of militants who are suspected of taking part in the attack have been arrested and others were being closely monitored by police to see whether they are linked to a group.
Stevens and another American were killed in the consulate during the initial violence, as plain-clothed Libyan security were evacuating the consulate’s staff to the safe house about a mile away, el-Sharef said.
The second assault took place several hours later and targeted the safe house, a villa inside the grounds of Libya’s equestrian club, killing two Americans and wounding a number of Libyans and Americans, he added.