New York Times: Egyptian Attackers in Algeria May Have Also Been in Benghazi

A picture shows an accommodation compound belonging to Algeria’s Sonatrach oil company, operated with BP, in the desert in Algeria on January 19, 2013. 11 heavily armed men from a group known as ‘Signatories in Blood’ were holed up at the complex after taking hundreds of workers hostage in a dawn attack.(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Shortly before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified on the September 11 attack on an American outpost in Benghazi that killed four Americans, the New York Times released an article tying a number of the assailants to the recent attack in Algeria.

It has been nearly four months since the attack that claimed four lives in Libya, and it seems a number of Egyptian jihadists may have gotten to work elsewhere in the interim.

Thirty-eight hostages were killed in the recent attack at a BP energy complex, including at least 3 Americans, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The New York Times writes:

The Egyptians involved in both attacks were killed by Algerian forces during the four-day ordeal that ended in the deaths of at least 38 hostages and 29 kidnappers, the [Algerian] official said. But three of the militants were captured alive, and one of them described the Egyptians’ role in both assaults under interrogation by the Algerian security services, the official said.

New York Times: Egyptian Attackers in Algeria May Have Also Been in Benghazi

An armed man waves his rifle after buildings and cars were set on fire inside the US Consulate compound in Benghazi late on Sept. 11. (AFP/Getty Images)

But according to the New York Times, the official was more interested in condemning the American-backed “Arab Spring” for growing lawlessness:

…he focused on the chaos unleashed by the recent uprisings throughout the region, leaving large ungoverned areas where extremists can flourish.

“This is the result of the Arab Spring,” said the official said, who spoke on condition of anonymity because investigations into the hostage crisis were still under way. “I hope the Americans are conscious of this.”

The New York Times reiterates that it has not been able to independently verify the connection, and that governments that survived the “Arab Spring” have been quick to equate protesters with terrorism.

However, Egyptian security officials have confirmed that at least one longtime militant was involved in the Algeria attack, and the Libya connection is corroborated by the Agence France-Presse.

The Agence France-Presse article begins:

Militants who seized an Algerian gas plant before they were killed in a bloodbath received logistical aid from Islamists in Libya, a well-informed source told AFP on Tuesday

“Logistical support was provided from Libya,” said the source close to hardline Islamist groups in Libya, which has seen a rise in extremism since the fall of Moamer Kadhafi.

The New York Times writes: “If confirmed, the link between two of the most brazen assaults in recent memory would reinforce the transborder character of the jihadist groups now striking across the Sahara.”

(H/T: WeaselZippers/The Weekly Standard)

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