On Monday, the White House announced that U.S forces captured have Mustafa al-Imam in Libya. Al-Imam had been linked to the attacks on U.S. personnel in Benghazi on September 11, 2012–the infamous battle at the embassy and CIA annex that claimed the lives of four Americans: Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Al-Imam was reportedly evacuated to a Navy ship where he will be transported to the United States and await trial for the Benghazi attacks.
Yesterday, President Trump released a statement:
Yesterday, on my orders, United States forces captured Mustafa al-Imam in Libya. Because of this successful operation, al-Imam will face justice in the United States for his alleged role in the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, which resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, and Tyrone Woods—four brave Americans who were serving our country.
To the families of these fallen heroes: I want you to know that your loved ones are not forgotten, and they will never be forgotten.
Our memory is deep and our reach is long, and we will not rest in our efforts to find and bring the perpetrators of the heinous attacks in Benghazi to justice.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also commented that, “we will spare no effort to ensure that justice is served for these dedicated Americans and public servants. I spoke with some of their family members to underscore the U.S. government’s unwavering support.”
U.S. Special Operations forces would undoubtedly have a difficult time finding the man, as Libya is a large place–the 16th largest country on earth to be precise, so there would be lots of places for him to hide. There are countless ways they could have tracked him down, and many terrorist and insurgent groups are surprisingly adept and knowledgeable when it comes to evading capture.
It also remains uncertain as to what actual capacity al-Imam served in the 2012 Benghazi attacks. CNN has said that the U.S. government is in possession of a video putting him on one of the two sites of the attacks, but beyond that, his specific role remains unknown to the public.
Libya has been at the epicenter of conflict and turmoil for a long time. The country is fractured between rival militias and tribes, fighting over various disputes as the government is relatively powerless to be of much use. Islamic jihadists have gained a foothold in the country, especially after 2014. Libyan militants have not only conducted attacks of terror within Libyan borders, but out in neighboring countries as well.
Featured image courtesy of AP Images.