CBS News reports that U.S. Special Operations forces captured Ahmed Abu Khattala, a suspected leader of the attacks on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya in 2012, in a secret raid that took place over the weekend, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.
Of the suspects suspected of the attack that left four Americans dead, Khattala is the first person connected to be brought into custody. The Obama administration has come under fire for failing to bring to justice anyone involved in the attack despite the attack happening nearly two years ago.
“The United States has an unwavering commitment to bring to justice those responsible for harming Americans. Since the deadly attacks on our facilities in Benghazi, I have made it a priority to find and bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of four brave Americans,” President Obama said in a statement following news of the operation. “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. We will remain vigilant against all acts of terrorism, and we will continue to prioritize the protection of our service-members and civilians overseas.
The President also commemorated the victims of the attack: Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, and Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was was born and raised in Northern California. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley and the University of California Hastings College of the Law.
“He risked his life to stop a tyrant, then gave his life to help build a better Libya,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a press conference Wednesday morning. “The world need more Chris Stevenses.”
Stevens was a career diplomat who spoke Arabic and French and had already served two tours in Libya, including running the office in Benghazi during the revolt against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. He was confirmed as ambassador to Libya by the Senate in 2012.