Ex-Gitmo Detainee Tied to Benghazi Attack

Abu Sufian bin Qumu was released from Libyan custody in 2008
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2014 12:03 PM CST
This Sept. 13, 2012 file photo shows a cameraman filming one of the burnt out offices after an attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi.   (AP photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

(Newser) – A new revelation, and wrinkle, in the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi: US officials tell the Washington Post that fighters led by Abu Sufian bin Qumu were involved in the attack. Two notable things about that: One, Qumu was once a detainee at Guantanamo Bay; he was released in 2007 to Libya, which in turn released him the following year. Two, the fighters Qumu leads make up the branch of Ansar al-Sharia located in the Libyan city of Darnah, and it, along with branches in Benghazi and Tunisia, are expected to be soon designated as a "foreign terrorist organization," and the State Department will likely link Qumu's branch to the attack at that time.

The Post report specifically states that witnesses have put Qumu's men in Benghazi, a multi-hour drive from Darnah, in advance of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, though it points out that it's not clear if they were there by coincidence or plan. It's not the first time Qumu's name has surfaced in relation to Benghazi, however: In September 2012, Fox News reported that investigators believed Qumu was involved in and may even have led the attack. The Post notes that officials are looking into whether there are any connections between the Benghazi attackers and American teacher Ronnie Smith, who was shot dead while jogging a month ago. (Read more Abu Sufian bin Qumu stories.)

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