Suspected Benghazi Attacker Captured by U.S. Forces in Libya

A picture shows the interior of the burnt US consulate building in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on September 13, 2012
A picture shows the interior of the burnt US consulate building in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on September 13, 2012 / Getty Images
October 30, 2017

U.S. forces in Libya captured one of the suspects in the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed four Americans, the White House announced Monday.

Mustafa al Imam appeared on video obtained by the U.S. government at one of the two sites of the attack, and he also likely operated under different aliases, an administration official told CNN. The United States was also monitoring al Imam's location for a period of time, and now that he is held in custody, he is being transferred to the United States for prosecution.

"Yesterday, on my orders, United States forces captured Mustafa al-Imam in Libya," President Donald Trump said in a statement. "Because of this successful operation, al-Imam will face justice in the United States for his alleged role in the September 11 2012, attacks in Benghazi, which resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, and Tyrone Woods—four brave Americans who were serving our country."

"Our memory is deep and our reach is long, and we will not rest in our efforts to find and bring the perpetrators of the heinous attacks in Benghazi to justice," he added.

Al Imam is one of two captured in response to the Benghazi attack, in which terrorists used firearms and rocket-propelled grenades to assault a diplomatic building and kill U.S. personnel. Ahmed Abu Khatallah is suspected to be the mastermind of the operation, and he is currently facing trial in Washington, although the Justice Department is not pursuing the death penalty.

Trump also used the statement to call for peace and stable government in Libya, reiterating an American commitment to combat terrorist activity in the North African country.

"The United States will continue to support our Libyan partners to ensure that ISIS and other terrorist groups do not use Libya as a safe haven for attacks against United States citizens or interests, Libyans, and others," Trump said.

"Libya's long-term stability and security are linked to its ability to form a unified government and military, and we encourage all Libyans to support the ongoing reconciliation process facilitated by the United Nations and to work together to build a peaceful and stable country," Trump said.