“The government condemns this regrettable infringement on Libya’s sovereignty,” foreign ministry spokesman Said Lassoued said in a statement, adding that Tripoli had not been informed in advance.
In announcing the operation, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby would not say whether Washington gave Libya advance notice.
Also on Wednesday, Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani told a news conference that there is already an outstanding arrest warrant for Abu Khatallah.
But he said Libyan security forces had not been able to arrest him because of the security situation in the flashpoint eastern city of Benghazi.
Lassoued underlined in his statement “Libya’s right to judge Abu Khattalah on its soil in conformity with its law, and asks the American government to return him to Libya.”
Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed when gunmen stormed the US consulate on September 11, 201 and set it on fire. A CIA outpost was also targeted.
The attack shocked Washington and became a highly charged political issue, raising questions about security at US missions. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton faced hostile questioning before lawmakers over the issue.
Republicans alleged that the White House failed to respond decisively and then tried to hide some facts in the grisly episode.
The Obama administration has accused critics of politicising a tragic event and says it has divulged all the details of the case.
US federal prosecutors have charged Abu Khatallah with murder, carrying a weapon and offering material support to “terrorism,” according to an indictment.
The first charge potentially carries the death penalty.
The charges reflect accounts from Libyan officials and witnesses who have singled out Abu Khatallah as allegedly taking part in the assault that day.
The State Department had identified Abu Khatallah as a senior leader of Ansar al-Sharia, a Libyan Islamist group it brands a “terrorist” organisation responsible for a spate of attacks and assassinations.
The US military has captured a key suspect linked to the deadly 2012 attack on an American consulate in Benghazi in a secret raid in Libya over the weekend, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
“I can confirm that on Sunday, June 15 the US military in cooperation with law enforcement personnel captured Ahmed Abu Khatallah, a key figure in the attacks on US facilities in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012,” spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.
There were no civilian casualties in the raid, which took place on Sunday, and the suspect was in US custody at a “secure location outside of Libya,” Kirby said in a statement.
After similar raids, the United States has held suspects aboard naval ships before flying them to the United States to face legal charges.
Kirby said all US troops and personnel taking part in the operation have “safely departed Libya.”
US authorities had filed charges against Khatallah and others over the 2012 Benghazi attacks, which killed four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, AFP reports.
Divided House Democrats are weighing whether to participate in a new investigation of the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, or boycott the election-year inquiry of a tragedy they accuse Republicans of politicizing.
Party leaders will meet with rank-and-file members Friday to decide the next step after Republicans the day before rammed through a resolution creating a special select committee to examine the Sept. 11, 2012, assault. Four Americans, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed when militants stormed the diplomatic outpost.
The panel’s investigation will be the eighth on Benghazi and means high-profile hearings in the months leading up to the elections, with Republicans grilling current and former Obama administration officials. Certain to be called to testify is former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democrats’ potential 2016 presidential candidate, AP reports.
Democrats are split over whether to boycott the select committee, which will have a 7-5 Republican edge in membership. They are concerned that their participation would grant legitimacy to what they believe will be a partisan forum. But they also worry that if they avoid it they won’t have the chance to counter GOP claims and defend potential witnesses.
Boehner’s legislation creates the special committee through the end of the year. It will have to be reapproved when a new Congress begins in January or go out of existence. The select committee has no explicit financial constraints. The speaker was expected to announce the Republican members on Friday.
House Democrats have issued several demands if they are to participate in the select committee. Rebuffed on their request for an equal split in membership, Democrats are seeking guarantees they’ll have equal access to documents, say on subpoenas and the right to question witnesses.
In the 20 months since the attack, multiple independent, bipartisan and GOP-led probes already have faulted the State Department for inadequate security at the outpost, leading to four demotions. No attacker has yet been brought to justice.
Republicans say they’re unsatisfied with explanations so far, and they have leveled a range of accusations against President Barack Obama, Clinton and other senior administration officials. Chief among them is that the administration misled the American people about the nature of the attack during a presidential election campaign and stonewalled congressional investigators.
Benghazi has produced 13 public hearings, the release of 25,000 pages of documents and 50 separate briefings. The select committee won’t be the only inquiry, as other GOP-led congressional panels continue their investigations, including a House Oversight probe which just last week took the extraordinary step of subpoenaing a Cabinet member, Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry hasn’t said when he might testify.
Democrats deride the effort as a conservative campaign designed to energize Republican voters in typically low-turnout midterm elections.
Earlier this week, the National Republican Congressional Committee sent an email vowing that “no one will get away” from the committee’s investigation and asking people for donations.
Source: Voice of Russia