Tripoli, 25 October:
An Egyptian suspected of involvement in last month’s attack on the US mission in Benghazi in which Ambassador Chris Stevens was slain in Cairo yesterday, Wednesday.
According to the Egyptian Interior Ministry, the man — named only as Hazem — died in a shoot-out with security forces at an apartment in Nasr City, northeast Cairo. They had been sent to arrest him following information received implicating him in the Benghazi attack. He is said to have recently returned from Libya.
Security sources say he threw a bomb from the ground floor apartment but it bounced back into the building. Police then fired tear gas and exchanged gunfire. The building subsequently caught fire, forcing other residents to be evacuated. After the fire was put out, police say they found the man’s body completely burnt.
They say they also found 17 bombs, four RPGs, three automatic weapons and large quantities of ammunition.
The man was said to have rented the apartment for the past three months.
The shoot-out came the same day a lawyer in Tunisia said that a local man accused also of being involved the Benghazi mission attack was being held in a Tunis jail on terrorism charges.
The man, named as Ali Harzi, was one of two Tunisians arrested in Turkey on 3 October, allegedly having entered the country on false passports. It was later reported that both were believed to be linked to the Benghazi attack and had been sent back by the Turks to Tunis on 11 October. Harzi is reported to have been trying to head to Syria after having escaped from Libya.
According to lawyer Ouled Ali Anwar, Harzi has been charged with “membership of a terrorist organisation in a time of peace in another country”.
Anwar is insisting on his client’s innocence, saying he is a “scapegoat to satisfy the Americans”.
Tunisian Interior Ministry spokesman Tarrouch Khaled has confirmed the arrest, saying the case “is in the hands of justice”.
A US intelligence official is reported claiming that Harzi has links with terrorist organisations. Another report says he appeared on the US intelligence radar when he posted information about the attack on a social media site shortly afterwards.
American investigators have so far not been allowed to question him.