AP: Libya suspect in US consulate attack denies charge

Aug. 07, 2013 @ 01:19 PM

A former Libyan militia commander on Wednesday denied charges filed in U.S. federal court accusing him of being involved in an attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

Ahmed Abu Khattala told The Associated Press that he was not in hiding, nor had he been questioned by Libyan authorities over the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. That assault killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and sparked Republican-led investigations in Congress over the attack and its aftermath.

Khattala repeatedly has denied being involved in the attack. He did so again Wednesday when reached by telephone by the AP.

"I am a Libyan citizen and the American government has nothing to do with me," he said. "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."

Officials in the U.S. say he and an unspecified number of others are named in a sealed complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington. It's unclear what charges he and the others face. Libya's Justice Ministry declined to comment Wednesday when asked about the U.S. charges.

Khattala was the commander of an Islamist militia group called Abu Obaida Bin Jarrah. However, he said Wednesday he had abandoned the militia and begun working as a construction contractor.