Benghazi: Teacher From US Gunned Down In Libya

In Benghazi, Libya, an American teacher was shot and killed on Thursday.

This shooting comes some 15 months after the deadly attack on the US consulate in the same city.

A spokesman for the security services, Ibrahim al-Sharaa, said that the dead man was Ronnie Smith a 33-year-old US citizen, who had been a teacher at the international school in Benghazi. He was shot dead as he was taking his customary morning jog through the central Al-Fwihet neighbourhood.

Benghazi international school director Adel al-Mansuri said the dead teacher had taught chemistry since late last year.

There was other violence in Benghazi on Thursday; two Libyan soldiers were shot dead in separate incidents. A third soldier died when a bomb exploded under his vehicle.

The increasing violence affecting the city is largely blamed on jihadist groups that have expanded since the former dictator, Colonel Ghadaffi, was killed in 2011.

One of the leading groups is Ansar al-Sharia, a jihadist group alleged to have been responsible for the September 11, 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Also on Thursday, in the Islamist bastion of Derna, residents launched new demonstrations against what they say is anarchy in the city, and demanded a greater presence of the police and army.

Like Benghazi, Derna has in recent months seen a spate of killings of members of the security forces and the judiciary. All these attacks have been blamed on Ansar al-Sharia, but they denied responsibility for Monday’s attack on protesters in Derna.

Libya’s new leaders have tried in vain to integrate former rebels – who helped topple Ghadaffi– into the regular armed forces, but with limited success.

Meanwhile Ronnie Smith was a teacher in Benghazi who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.