Casablanca — Although Ahmed Boukhtala is the main suspect in the September 11th terrorist attack on US consulate in Benghazi as well as a suspect in assassination of Libyan rebel commander Major General Abdelfattah Younis, he continues to live freely in Benghazi.
Conflicting reports have claimed that Boukhtala was imprisoned while others have said he escaped from prison and is now a fugitive. However, sources in Benghazi told Magharebia that Boukhtala remains at large and that the Libyan authorities have not arrested him.
“Boukhtala is not detained, and no official charges were made against him,” political activist Samir al-Jahani told Magharebia. “However, there are many suspicions around him.”
Al-Jahani believes that the government is trying as much as it can to avoid charges and clashes with extremist groups at this stage.
“Boukhtala belongs to an extremist group, and he is still followed by some gunmen. However, he no longer has his own militias since his Abu Obeida Bin al-Jarrah brigade was disbanded,” al-Jahani added.
He also noted that 41-year-old Boukhtala is a regular person without any qualifications in Sharia sciences. “Some call him sheikh only because of his long beard and because he was the commander of Abi Obeida Bin al-Jarrah brigade during the revolution,” he added.
In a December 19th interview with Libya’s Quryna, Boukhtala vaguely responded to charges that he was behind the attack on the US consulate, which left the US ambassador and three other Americans dead.
He neither denied nor confirmed his responsibility for the terrorist attack. Instead, he tried to justify the assault by claiming that the place that was targeted was not a consulate but a security facility belonging to the consulate. (more)