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Homeland Security

US Envoy Visits Libya Following Ambassador's Death

September 20, 2012

by VOA News

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns is in Libya for meetings with top officials about last week's deadly attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Burns also is attending a ceremony honoring U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the three other American diplomats killed in the attack. The incident took place during a protest against an anti-Islam video that was privately produced in the United States.

The Reuters news agency reports that Libya's foreign minister, Ashor Bin Khayyal, again apologized for the attack and told Burns that Ambassador Stevens was a "friend of Libya."

On Wednesday, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official called the incident a "terrorist attack."

National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen told a Senate committee that the assault was "an opportunistic attack" that "evolved and escalated over several hours."

Olsen said there were indications that al-Qaida or an la-Qaida-linked group was involved in the incident, but that there has been no evidence of advance planning.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to discuss the attack with lawmakers Thursday, during a private intelligence briefing. On Tuesday, she said the State Department had no actionable intelligence the attack was planned or imminent.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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