TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- It began around nightfall on Sept. 11 with around 150 bearded gunmen, some wearing the Afghan-style tunics favored by Islamic militants, sealing off the streets leading to the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. They set up roadblocks with pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, according to witnesses.
The trucks bore the logo of Ansar al-Shariah, a powerful local group of Islamist militants who worked with the municipal government to manage security in Benghazi.
There was no sign of a spontaneous protest against an American-made movie denigrating Islam's Prophet Muhammad. But a lawyer passing by the scene said he saw the militants gathering around 20 youths from nearby to chant against the film. Within an hour or so, the assault began, guns blazing as the militants blasted into the compound.
The witness accounts gathered by The Associated Press give a from-the-ground perspective for the sharply partisan debate in the U.S. over the attack that left U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead. They corroborate the conclusion largely reached by American officials that it was a planned militant assault. But they also suggest the militants may have used the film controversy as a cover for the attack.
The Obama administration has sent out muddled messages whether it was a planned attack or a mob protest that got out of control. A day after the attack, President Barack Obama referred to "acts of terror." He told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview aired the following Sunday that he believed those involved "were looking to target Americans from the start."
Within 24 hours of the attack, both the embassy in Tripoli and the CIA station chief sent word to Washington that it was a planned militant attack. Still, days later, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, said the attack began as a spontaneous protest over the film.
Ansar al-Shariah, the group whose members are suspected in the attack, is made up of militants with an al-Qaida-like ideology, but it is not clear whether it has any true ties to the terror organization. Made up mainly of veterans of last year's civil war, it is one of the many powerful, heavily armed militias that operate freely in Libya and in Benghazi, while government control remains weak. Some Benghazi officials have praised Ansar al-Shariah for helping keep order in the city, even as they note its jihadi ideology.
With its arsenal of weapons, the group is capable of carrying out such an attack on the consulate on its own and even on relatively short notice. Islamist militias in Benghazi had in previous months threatened to attack the compound.
Yasser el-Sirri, a former Egyptian militant who runs the Islamic Observation Center in London closely tracking jihadi groups, said the attack "had nothing to do with the film but it was a coincidence that served the (militants') purpose."
He believes the ambassador was the target and the attackers may have been inspired by an al-Qaida call to avenge the death of a top Libyan jihadist on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001. But he offered no firm evidence that was the motive.
The neighbors all described the militants setting up checkpoints around the compound at about 8 p.m. The State Department's timeline says the attack itself began at around 9:40 p.m.
The attack came from the front and the side. A neighbor whose house is on side of the consulate compound said militants with their faces wrapped in scarves attacking.
Because of the checkpoints, "it felt like our neighborhood was occupied, no one could get out or in," he said.
The effectiveness of the roadblocks was later revealed in the State Department's account of the evacuation. It described how the rescue force came under heavy fire and grenade attacks as they tried to leave the consulate area.
They evacuated staffers to a security compound across town, where they continued to come under fire. A precision mortar hit the compound's building at 4 a.m., killing two other Americans.....snip~
Moreover there was no one on the streets. The Libyans confirm this.
From the other thread that I put this up in Sharon. Either ones Drones or the AC. Time isn't a factor. The point was in 7 hrs they could have been there. Despite being narrow streets and all of that they could have helped get them out the box.
Plus lets not forget who set up the Roadblocks! Which as you know I have all these sources in the Current Benghazi thread up.
This is Benghazi.
I have tried to think what might have happened to my family living across the street from the US embassy and the Russian embassy in Tripoli.
You seem to have all the answers from your perch behind the keyboard.
Well I am sure those that are Military can see how it could be done. Also another thing not mentioned are Choppers. Even being 4 hrs away they would have still made it there to clear the way. So we shall see if the Press asks that question. With all the muddling and confusion and of course deflection by this Administration.
In fact, there were seven attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates during the Bush years, and numerous other such attacks have happened under recent presidents.The death toll from these attacks was 80 people, no Americans. Another 50 or so were injured, also not Americans. The only difference with Benghazi is 4 Americans died in the attack.Under Bush, these attacks happened:
2002: U.S. Consulate In Karachi, Pakistan, Attacked; 10 Killed, 51 Injured. From a June 15, 2002, Chicago Tribune article.
2004: U.S. Embassy Bombed In Uzbekistan. From a July 31, 2004, Los Angeles Times article.
2004: Gunmen Stormed U.S. Consulate In Saudi Arabia. From a December 6, 2004, New York Times article.
2006: Armed Men Attacked U.S. Embassy In Syria. From a September 13, 2006, Washington Post article.
2007: Grenade Launched Into U.S. Embassy In Athens. From The New York Times.
2008: Rioters Set Fire To U.S. Embassy In Serbia. From The New York Times.
2008: Ten People Killed In Bombings At U.S. Embassy In Yemen. From The New York Times.
This article goes on to list attacks on embassies under other presidents.
Krauthammer Whitewashes Bush's History To Bash Obama Over Embassy Attack
Scientific fact: If you took all of the veins from your body and laid them end to end, you would die.
Be sure to work hard and get lots of overtime. People on welfare want more steaks and free upgrades to smart phones with unlimited data packages.