Benghazi attack suspect in federal custody

WASHINGTON (WUSA 9/USA Today) -- Nearly two weeks after his capture in Libya, a key suspect in the 2012 deadly attack on the American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, arrived in the U.S. on Saturday to face criminal charges in the attack.

Ahmed Abu Khatallah, an alleged senior leader of the Benghazi branch of the terror group Ansar al-Sharia, was being detained and questioned on a U.S. warship since his capture and transport to the area where he will be prosecuted in a D.C. federal court, which had heightened security Saturday.

Spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, Bill Miller, wrote in a press release that Khatallah is expected to be "presented before a judicial officer at 3:30 p.m. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia."

Miller declined further comment about Khatallah, who faces criminal charges in the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

A criminal complaint filed in Washington accused Khatallah of "killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility involving the use of a firearm and dangerous weapon." It charged him with "providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, resulting in death" at Benghazi.

Khatallah is described by some terror analysts as a man stridently anti-U.S. who has been aligned with the Ansar al-Shariah militia group suspected in the consulate attack.

However, he has denied participation in the Benghazi attacks and has given interviews to various media outlets, including CNN and The New York Times.

"I am a Libyan citizen, and the American government has nothing to do with me," Khatallah told the Associated Press last year. "I am in my city, having a normal life and have no troubles and if they have an inquiry to make, they should get in touch with Libyan authorities."

Contributing: The Associated Press, WUSA 9 Staff


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