Libya Violence: Preplanned Attack or Spontaneous Riot?

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The president of Libya said he believes al Qaeda is responsible for the deadly attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

In an interview with NPR, President Mohammed el-Megarif said that al Qaeda used protests over an anti-Muslim film as a cover to attack the consulate on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"We firmly believe that this was a precalculated, preplanned attack that was carried out specifically to attack the U.S. Consulate," Megarif told NPR.

Four Americans were killed in the attack, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Megarif's position on the attacks differs from that of the Obama administration. The White House launched an investigation into the attacks and Sunday the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said the attacks did not appear to be premeditated or tied to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ambassador Susan Rice said the deadly protest in Benghazi appeared to be a copycat of demonstrations that had erupted hours earlier outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, spurred by a YouTube film mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

"It seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons," Rice said adding that such weaponry is easy to come by in post-revolutionary Libya.

Whether those extremists had ties to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups has yet to be determined, Rice said, noting that the FBI has yet to complete its investigation.

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