Pentagon: Iraq Strike Killed Benghazi Suspect
Al-Harzi was key ISIS connection, military says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 23, 2015 4:42 AM CDT
A man walks through a room in the gutted US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the day after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sept. 12, 2012.   (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – An ISIS operative suspected of involvement in the 2012 attack on the US diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, has been killed in a US airstrike in Iraq, the Pentagon says. Ali Awni al-Harzi operated closely with ISIS-associated extremists "throughout North Africa and the Middle East," a Defense Department spokesman said in a statement. His death degrades the group's "ability to integrate North African jihadists into the Syrian and Iraqi fight and removes a jihadist with long ties to international terrorism," the spokesman said.

The Pentagon statement said al-Harzi, a Tunisian national, was killed last week in Mosul, which fell to ISIS forces a year ago. California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said al-Harzi "was responsible for planning hundreds of suicide attacks across the world and was one of the first foreign fighters" to join ISIS. Schiff said al-Harzi "was also responsible for recruiting foreign fighters and sending them to the fight in Syria." Schiff added that al-Harzi "was also suspected of involvement in their hostage program, and to have played a role" in the Benghazi attack. (The State Department has released hundreds of Hillary Clinton's Benghazi emails.)