US mulling military action in Libya over Benghazi attack?

The US intelligence is snooping on various targets within Libya in what could set the stage for US military action.

Last Updated: Oct 03, 2012, 11:50 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Washington: Hunting for the perpetrators of US Consulate attack in Benghazi, the US intelligence is snooping on various targets within Libya in what could set the stage for US military action within the country, reports emerged Wednesday.

Any military action by the US within Libyan territory would be taken only after consulting Libyan authorities, revealed a senior US intelligence official as per a CNN report.

The report further said that since past few weeks US drones were hovering over Libyan airspace, busy collecting key informations regarding suspected militants. It also added that US intelligence agencies were tapping the communications between the suspected terrorists groups in Libya.

The reports that President Barack Obama might order strikes on specific Libyan targets come as the US intelligence has dubbed the attack on US Consulate in Benghazi as a “planned and deliberate assault”.

An angry mob protesting over an anti-Islam film made in US attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi on September 11, leading to killing of US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens along with three other Americans.

Last Wednesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dropped broad hints linking al Qaeda militants to Benghazi attack.

Hilary warned the vast desert area in Libya was becoming a breeding ground of militants making it lawless area and creating instability.

Speaking at a meeting convened by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Hillary said that terrorists were expanding their reach.

“Now with a larger safe haven, and increased freedom for maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach. And they are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions underway in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi,” she said.

In a bid to prepare the outline of the military strike, US agencies like the Pentagon and the CIA, along with the Joint Special Operations Command were “compiling so-called target packages of detailed information about the suspects", the officials said.

A target package, according to CNN, includes the intelligence matched to a specific site earmarked for a potential strike. It also includes intelligence justifying a potential strike against any enemy personnel being targeted and a specific calculation on how civilian casualties would be avoided.

According to the CNN, the senior US official repeatedly noted the standard job of the intelligence community and the military is to prepare options for the president if he asks for them, which he has not.

Experts say that America needs to be extremely cautious in taking any action as it might dent America’s image, which has so far been considered instrumental in battle against slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The military strike by the US may trigger furore in and outside Libya, creating risks for America.

With Agency Inputs