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Media-identified suspect denies role in Libya attack

The Libyan Islamist Ahmed Abu Khattala has denied any role in killing a US ambassador and three other Americans. Implicated in the media, Abu Khattala has admitted to being present during the attack.

One report cited anonymous officials and witnesses in identifying Abu Khattala as a commander in the deadly September 11 assault on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens along with three members of his security staff. Abu Khattala, who led the Obeida Ibn Jarrah Brigade during the uprising that toppled Moammar Gadhafi, denied the allegations in interviews with news agencies.

"The report is a lie, and all its contents are fabricated, baseless and lacking any credibility," Abu Khattala told AFP. "There are no new developments on the subject of the US consulate," he added. "What we can say is that a group of people came out to demonstrate and the guards tasked with protecting the consulate opened fire. I don't know whether this came from the American or the Libyan section (of the guards). Then there was gunfire and finally the consulate was burned down."

In identifying Abu Khattala as a suspect, US media reports cited officials familiar with the investigation. However, Abu Khattala said no investigators or officials have contacted him. US investigators have also not made it clear whether they suspect Abu Khattala of playing a role in leading or organizing the attacks.

mkg/mz (AFP, Reuters, AP)