Al-Qaeda sympathisers claim US consulate attack in Libya
WASHINGTON - An alleged Libyan jihadist group has claimed responsibility for last week's bombing of the US consulate in Libya's main eastern city of Benghazi, the SITE monitoring service said Monday.
The "Brigades of the Imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman" said the attack was to avenge the death of Al-Qaeda number two Abu Yahya al-Libi in a drone strike in Pakistan, said the US-based SITE, which monitors jihadi websites.
The Brigades also said the June 6 bomb attack at the US diplomatic mission -- in which one person was wounded -- had come in response to the use of "American drones flying in Libyan skies," SITE said.
The group said it had "planted an explosive device in a wall of the consulate, targeting a group of 'Christian overseers' who were preparing to receive one of the 'heads of instigation'" from the State Department, SITE said.
The statement added that the group -- which also claimed responsibility for a May attack on the Benghazi offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross -- would soon release its footage of the consulate attack.
The group is named after Abdel Rahman, 73, who received a life sentence in the United States for his involvement in plots to hit New York targets and a plan to assassinate former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
Abdel Rahman, known as the "Blind Sheikh," is also cited as one of the inspirations for the first attack on the World Trade Center, which killed six people and injured more than 1,000 in 1993.
The US State Department had earlier said there was no reason to suspect the attack was in retaliation for a US drone strike in Pakistan that killed Libi, a Libyan citizen.
The same group -- which is named after an Egyptian sentenced to life in prison in the United States -- claimed a May 22 attack on the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the security official said.
Deputy Interior Minister Unis al-Sharef last week said the attack had been claimed by the "Prisoner Omar Abdelrahman Group", but downplayed the significance of the organization.
"These are religious groups and these acts are just reactions. There are not coordinated operations," he stressed.