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Congressional panel calls Hillary Clinton to testify on Benghazi

A congressional committee investigating the 2012 attacks on the US mission in Benghazi has called former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify. Four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, were killed.

The chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, Representative Trey Gowdy, has called on Hillary Clinton to testify at two public hearings, the first in the week of May 18.

"It is necessary to call Secretary Clinton twice because the committee needs to ensure we have a complete and responsive record and all the facts before we then substantively question her on the Benghazi terrorist attacks," the Republican representative was quoted as saying in a statement posted on the Select Committee's website.

"From there, as I have said countless times before, the committee investigation will go wherever the facts may lead. I have made no presumption of right or wrongdoing on anyone's part with respects to the Benghazi terrorist attacks," it added.

The first hearing is to focus on

Clinton's use of a private email account while she was US secretary of state

between 2009 and 2013. The Republicans have heavily criticized the Democrat politician's use of the private account while running the State Department, something which only came to light in March.

Clinton has previously said that she delivered all of her work-related emails to the State Department late last year, after having deleted around 30,000 personal emails. This has also been criticized by the Republicans.

Clinton ready to answer questions

A lawyer for Clinton had previously indicated that the former secretary of state was prepared to publicly respond to questions about the Benghazi attacks and her use of a private email account for state business at the earliest opportunity.

"There is no reason to delay her appearance or to have her testify in a private interview," David Kendall in a letter to Gowdy dated Wednesday.

Clinton has already testified to Congress about the Benghazi attacks,

in January 2013.

Four US nationals, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens were killed in the attacks in the eastern Libyan city

in September of 2012.

Clinton, who earlier this month announced her intention to run for president in 2016,

is seen as the frontrunner to win the Democratic nomination.

This week, the Select Committee has indicated that it may not issue its final report until 2016, when the presidential campaign will be in full swing.

pfd/bk (AFP, AP)

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