Fox News - EXCLUSIVE: A suspected terrorist linked to the 2012
Sources told Fox News that the suspect, Ansar al-Sharia commander Ahmed Abu Khattala, was captured Sunday during a joint
President Obama signed off on the mission on Friday night, Fox News is told. Khattala was captured south of
Khattala was long thought to be one of the ringleaders of the deadly attack, in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died. He had openly granted media interviews since the 2012 attack, but until now evaded capture.
The capture marks the first time the
"He didn't know what hit him," one source told Fox News of the capture. According to sources, there was no firefight -- a small Special Forces team with one FBI agent took part in the mission.
White House and Pentagon officials publicly confirmed the capture late Tuesday morning. In a written statement, Obama said: "The
He thanked the "painstaking efforts of our military, law enforcement, and intelligence personnel," and said the suspect would "now face the full weight of the American justice system."
"With this operation, the
Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby called Khattala a "key figure in the attacks on
The administration has faced sustained criticism from some in Congress and the families of the victims over the fact that no one had been brought to justice since that day in 2012.
State Department official Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were also killed during the attack. Khattala's capture came 642 days later.
With Khattala expected to face prosecution in a
"I am pleased that Khattala is finally in U.S. custody, and I am grateful for the military, intelligence, and law enforcement professionals who helped capture him," Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said in a statement, adding: "Rather than rushing to read him his Miranda rights and telling him he has the right to remain silent, I hope the administration will focus on collecting the intelligence necessary to prevent future attacks and to find other terrorists responsible for the Benghazi attacks."
Khattala, until this past weekend, had loomed as an almost taunting presence. A month after the attack, he admitted to Fox News that he was at the scene of the attack, though claimed he did not plan it. At the time, he claimed he was just directing traffic and looking after fellow militia members guarding the complex.
He offered no remorse, though, for the killing of four Americans. At the time, he said he had not yet been contacted by
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