Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif said he believes Al Qaeda is responsible for the deadly attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans and that roughly 50 people have arrested in connection with the violence, according to two broadcast interviews Sunday.
Megarif, president of the Libyan National Congress, also differed with the Obama administration’s position that the attacks that started Tuesday were sparked by an anti-Islamic video on the Internet.
In an interview with NPR, Megarif said foreigners over the past few months have been infiltrating his country, which has been undergoing major changes since the uprising against the late dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi.
Megarif says the attackers, whom he believes are connected to Al Qaeda, used the protests as a cover to attack the U.S. Consulate on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous,” Megarif told NPR. “We firmly believe that this was a pre-calculated, pre-planned attack that was carried out specifically to attack the U.S. Consulate.”
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice blanketed the TV airways Sunday to reinforce the Obama administration’s position that the deadly violence at American outposts across the Middle East last week was the result of an anti-Muslim video — delivering her message on four morning talk shows.
“What sparked the violence was a very hateful video on the Internet,” Rice said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It was a reaction to a video that had nothing to do with the United States.”
She also repeated the administration’s message that the attacks, which started Tuesday in Egypt and spread to more the 20 U.S. posts in the region, were “spontaneous,” not planned or timed for the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.