The head of Libya's parliament has told the US broadcaster CBS that some 50 people have been arrested over an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last week. He said it was planned by foreigners linked with al Qaeda.
In an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday, the president of the Libyan National Congress, Mohamed Magariaf, said some of those who joined in the attack came from outside Libya and were linked to the terrorist group al Qaeda.
Magariaf also said the attack in Benghazi, in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed, was almost certainly planned, citing the fact that it came on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
"It was definitely planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago and they were planning criminal acts since their arrival," Magariaf said. He added that some were from Mali and Algeria.
"These ugly deeds, criminal deeds, directed against late ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues, do not resemble in any way, in any sense, the aspirations, feelings of the Libyans toward the United States and its citizens," Magariaf went on.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has said in a statement that the attack was in revenge for the killing of the terror network's deputy leader, Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Lilbi in a drone strike in June. It did not claim direct responsibility for the attack, however.
Rage at anti-Islam film
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, has denied Tuesday's attack was premeditated, saying preliminary information indicated the attack was sparked by anger over a US-made anti-Islam film.
"There's no question, as we've seen in the past with things like 'The Satanic Verses,' with the cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, there have been such things that have sparked outrage and anger and this has been the proximate cause of what we've seen," she said.
Protesters are continuing to vent their fury at the film, entitled "The Innocence of Muslims," despite the US government's condemnation of it.
On Sunday, hundreds of students marched in the streets of the Afghan capital, Kabul, shouting anti-American slogans. Both the Bangladeshi and the Indian governments have also condemned the film.
A total of 17 people have so far died in violence linked to the film.
tj/mz (AFP, Reuters)