A suspected terrorist linked to the 2012 Benghazi terror attack that killed four Americans has been captured inside Libya by U.S. forces and currently is en route to the United States, Fox News has learned.
Sources told Fox News that the suspect, Ansar al-Sharia commander Ahmed Abu Khattala, was captured Sunday during a joint U.S. military and law enforcement operation, and will face prosecution in the United States.
President Obama signed off on the mission on Friday night, Fox News is told. Khattala was captured south of Benghazi by U.S. special operators and is on his way to the U.S. aboard a Navy ship.
Khattala was long thought to be one of the ringleaders of the deadly attack, in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died. He had openly granted media interviews since the 2012 attack, but until now evaded capture.
The capture marks the first time the United States has caught one of the suspects in the 2012 assault.
“He didn’t know what hit him,” one source told Fox News of the capture. According to sources, there was no firefight — a small Special Forces team with one FBI agent took part in the mission.
White House and Pentagon officials publicly confirmed the capture late Tuesday morning. In a written statement, Obama said: “The United States has an unwavering commitment to bring to justice those responsible for harming Americans.”
He thanked the “painstaking efforts of our military, law enforcement, and intelligence personnel,” and said the suspect would “now face the full weight of the American justice system.”
“With this operation, the United States has once again demonstrated that we will do whatever it takes to see that justice is done when people harm Americans. We will continue our efforts to bring to justice those who were responsible for the Benghazi attacks,” Obama said.
Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby called Khattala a “key figure in the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi.” He said there were no civilian casualties in the weekend operation, and all U.S. personnel have “safely departed” Libya. .. see more