I just caught the end of a segment on CNN. The network is reporting that its Middle East sources say that the attack on the US consulate in Libya was pre-planned for the 9-11 anniversary and had nothing to do with the film which is being blamed for inciting the attack.
If true, the attack was very likely a Muslim Brotherhood operation intended to humiliated the United States on the 11th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. The attack, which left the US ambassador to Libya and three others dead, would also more clearly come under the definition of an act of war.
Developing…more to come.
U.S. sources told CNN on Wednesday that the Benghazi attack was planned in advance, and the attackers used the protest outside the consulate as a diversion. The sources could not say whether the attackers instigated the protest or merely took advantage of it, and they say they don’t believe Stevens was specifically targeted.
A senior U.S. official familiar with the details of the attack said a grenade set the building ablaze, leaving the Americans facing both a fire inside and attackers outside. Stevens and the others who died were separated from the rest of the staff while trying to escape to the roof of the building and succumbed to smoke inhalation, the senior official said.
The official said there were several “valiant but unsuccessful” attempts to get back into the building and rescue them.
Meanwhile, a London think tank with strong ties to Libya speculated Wednesday that Stevens was actually the victim of a targeted al Qaeda revenge attack. The assault “came to avenge the death of Abu Yaya al-Libi, al Qaeda’s second in command killed a few months ago,” the think tank Quilliam said Wednesday.
It was “the work of roughly 20 militants, prepared for a military assault,” the think tank said, noting that rocket-propelled grenade launchers do not normally appear at peaceful protests, and that there were no other protests against the film elsewhere in Libya.
The planned attack came in two waves, one which prompted U.S. officials to leave the consulate for a secure location. The second wave was directed at the place of retreat, Quilliam said, citing unnamed sources on the ground in Benghazi and abroad.
Update: Ray Ibrahim reported here at the Tatler on Monday that jihadists were threatening to attack the embassy in Cairo and burn it to the ground.