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elafilador.net’s Barbara Starr reports on exactly how the procedure to nab Benghazi doubt Ahmed Abu Khatallah go down.

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22: democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies prior to the House choose Committee ~ above Benghazi October 22, 2015 ~ above Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee hosted a listening to proceed its examination on the assault that eliminated Ambassador kris Stevens and three other Americans in ~ the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on the evening of September 11, 2012. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Abu Khatallah encounters 18 charges pertained to the deadly violence that started on September 11, 2012

The strike killed Ambassador chris Stevens and three various other Americans


Donning gray pants, one untucked white button-down shirt and long gray beard, Ahmed Abu Khatallah silently took notes and sipped water within a pack Washington courtroom top top Monday as prosecutors outlined a instance that will attempt to paint him as the ringleader of the 2012 terrorist attack on the united state mission in Benghazi, Libya that killed Ambassador kris Stevens and three other Americans.

Abu Khatallah “didn’t light the fires or fire the mortars, but is simply as guilty” because that planning the attack, setting it in motion and also getting rather “to execute his dirty work,” commonwealth prosecutor man Crabb told jurors in his opened statement.


Benghazi suspect set for trial, details of an enig raid revealed


yet the defense ardently refuted Crabb’s claims that Abu Khatallah “hates Americans v a vengeance” and also facilitated the attack that killed 4 Americans during its opened remarks top top the very first day of trial.

The proof will display Abu Khatallah – the just Benghazi suspect right now in us custody – is not guilty and also that he “was just someone who might be blamed,” claimed defense attorney Jeffrey Robinson.

Abu Khatallah faces 18 charges related to the deadly violence that started on September 11, 2012, consisting of the killing of one internationally defended person, providing material support to terrorists and also destroying US property while causing death.

throughout the attack, assailants equipped with automatic weapons and also rocket-propelled grenades very first blasted v the key diplomatic mission before setting it ablaze, according to 2014 court papers.


ESAM OMRAN AL-FETORI /REUTERS/LANDOV
A protester reacts as the us Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames. Equipped gunmen assaulted the compound, clashing with Libyan security forces prior to the latter withdrew together they come under hefty fire.
Benghazi Mission attack Fast truth




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Stevens and State Department information officer Sean Smith passed away there. A coordinated mortar attack on a nearby annex eliminated security policemans Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, both CIA contractors and former us Navy SEALs.

“Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens choked to death by thick black smoke. Sean smith choked to fatality by thick black color smoke. Valley Doherty and Tyrone Woods were ‘blown apart by mortar fire,’ ” Crabb claimed while vividly relenten the assault that take it place much more than five years ago.

“I knew we were under attack”

one-of-a-kind agent Scott Wickland, a regional officer with diplomatic security who to be living in ~ the mission, recalled the events of September 11, 2012 as the an initial witness come testify in the trial.

Wickland was visibly emotional together he explained Stevens as “very personable” with a warmth manner to be “not normal” for an ambassador.

approximately 9:45 p.m. On September 11, Wickland claimed he heard chanting down the street from the mission and also then calls of “Allah Akbar.”

together guards scrambled to placed on their protective gear and also get their guns, Wickland said went to notify Stevens – who had currently gone come bed – the a probably escalating defense situation.

Wickland then claimed he command Stevens and IT official Sean smith to a safe room in one of the compound’s villas.

There to be gunfire, explosions and also “bloodcurdling screams” ~ above the radio, follow to Wickland, that told the jury, “I knew we were under attack.”

The doors that the villa were then blown open and also attackers entered the compound armed with AK-47s and other attack rifles, that said.


when the attackers might not blast open the gates of the for sure room, they set the villa ~ above fire, Wickland said.

v smoke pour it until it is full the safe room, Wickland told the jury that he tried to command Stevens and Smith to the bathroom for this reason they could get part air but quickly realized they were no behind him.

he tried to feeling around and yell for them but he couldn’t find them – browsing until that was out of air and almost collapsed.

together Wickland went outside to to escape the exhilaration he said he to be fired ~ above by grenades.

the repeatedly entered the compound to search for Stevens and also Smith until he was the end of breath only to be met with a barrage that grenade fire each time that exited the compound.

unable to situate Stevens and Smith, Wickland said the jury the he claimed to himself “I’m walking to find for them until I’m going to die.”

Wickland then stated he waited because that a lull in the gunfire and also climbed a ladder come the roof whereby he stayed alone because that a an extremely long time and also continued to take it fire – can not to make contact with anyone on the radio.

simply when he assumed everyone was dead, one of the distinct afents, David Ubben, referred to as Wickland on the radio and also said “are friend alive?

“I don’t understand how plenty of times I believed I was going to die, but this was a item of expect that ns was going come survive,” Wickland called the jury.

Court adjourned for the day together Wickland was still ~ above the stand and also the start is meant to resume his testimony ~ above Tuesday.

Violent extremist or Libyan patriot?

Abu Khatallah emerged from years in jail under the regimen of previous Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to type an Islamist militia and later became associated with Ansar al-Sharia, a team US officials blamed because that the 2012 attack.

believed to it is in in his 40s, Abu Khatallah ended up being the face of the militant attack and a optimal target for the us after he grew a celebrity file in its wake, meeting v journalists and also granting interviews.

on Monday, prosecutors highlighted evidence they stated will present Abu Khatallah not only orchestrated efforts to gather weapons ahead the the attack but will additionally show he rushed the gates of the mission armed with one AK-47 rifle and also fuel canisters i m sorry were used to set the structure on fire.

The prosecution ended its opened statements through reiterating the Abu Khatallah was urged by his hate for Americans and also concerns the the us mission in Libya offered as a “spy nest” – a suggest that echoed cases made in pre-trial documents.

“The defendant’s authorized in the assault was urged by his extremist ideology,” prosecutors said in the documents, which likewise alleged that Abu Khatallah “voiced concern and also opposition come the presence of one American basic in Benghazi” days prior to the attack.

However, the defense argued that Abu Khatallah was not a radical terrorist however rather a “Libyan patriot” who fought to totally free the nation from Gadhafi.

according to Robinson, Khatallah was at a friend’s residence when he heard around the attack and also “went to watch what to be going on.”

that did no attempt come block people from going come the assault site yet was only acting to try and protect those existing from gunfire, Robinson said, including that Abu Khatallah never went to the CIA annex and also was at home when the mortars hit.

The defense likewise discussed Abu Khatallah’s 12 days in isolation after that was recorded during a secret raid in June 2014.

when he to be interrogated plank a marine ship throughout transport indigenous Libya to the US, the defense claimed Abu Khatallah made certain statements and also blamed bad translation for his answers.

They additionally emphasized that he cooperated v interrogators there is no an attorney present.