U. S. forces, acting on the orders of President Donald Trump, captured a suspect in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, Sunday.
Few details on the raid have been released, but a New York Times report indicated that it was executed by a team consisting of members of Navy SEAL Team 6 and the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team.
Mustafa al-Imam is charged in a three-count criminal complaint filed in U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The charges against him include killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility, providing material support to terrorists resulting in death and using a firearm during a crime of violence.
“Today the Department of Justice announces a major step forward in our ongoing investigation as Mustafa al-Imam is now in custody and will face justice in federal court for his role in the attack,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a news release issued this afternoon.
The official word of the capture came earlier this afternoon in a White House statement.
“To the families of these fallen heroes: I want you to know that your loved ones are not forgotten, and they will never be forgotten,” Trump said. “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. 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.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he had spoken with family members of those who died at Benghazi to “underscore the U. S. government’s unwavering support.”
Tillerson said he was “deeply grateful to the U. S. military, law enforcement, and intelligence community for their efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators” of the terrorist attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities.
Al Imam had been on the government’s radar for quite some time, an official told CNN. The Libyan government was informed of the U.S. mission after the go-ahead was given. After Al Imam was captured, he was taken to a U.S. Navy ship and will be brought to the U.S. for federal prosecution.
Al Imam is the second suspect in the Benghazi murders to be arrested.
Ahmed Abu Khattala, the alleged mastermind of the attacks, was arrested after a combined operation with the FBI and the U.S. Army in 2014. His trial began earlier this month. No information on the connection, if any, between Al Imam and Khattala has been provided.
[Featured Image by Ibrahim Alaguri/AP Images]