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Blast rocks Benghazi, a year after US consulate attack

© Mohammed Zismail, via Twitter

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-11

A powerful car bomb damaged a foreign ministry building in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Wednesday, witnesses said, one year after a militant attack on the US consulate killed four Americans including the US ambassador.

A powerful blast caused serious damage to a foreign ministry building in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi Wednesday, on the first anniversary of a militant attack on the US consulate in the city that killed four Americans, including the ambassador.

Witnesses said the blast appeared to have been caused by a car bomb. An AFP photographer said a large section of the foreign ministry building had been destroyed and parts of the nearby local headquarters of the central bank seriously damaged.

Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 revolt that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has been hit by a wave of deadly attacks in recent months targeting security force officers and members of the judiciary, many of whom had served the previous regime.

The White House on Tuesday remembered the four Americans killed last year in an attack on the US consulate that came on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks of 2001.

"The events of last year, losing four brave Americans – Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods – brought home the reality of the challenges we face in the world," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a written statement.

"As we near this day of remembrance, we continue to mourn the death of our cherished colleagues and honour their dedication to public service," he said, adding: "We remain committed to bringing the perpetrators of the Benghazi attacks to justice and to ensuring the safety of our brave personnel serving overseas."

The sacking of the US consulate was initially described by US officials as a reaction to an anti-Muslim video on YouTube that triggered protests across the Arab world, but it was later revealed that some of those behind the assault had links to organised extremists.

Republicans claim that President Barack Obama deliberately downplayed the attack because it contradicted his election-year narrative that al Qaeda was on the run.

Increased security on 9/11 anniversary

US authorities have increased security measures for US assets and interests worldwide on the 12th anniversary Wednesday of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"The President's National Security team is taking measures to prevent 9/11 related attacks and to ensure the protection of US persons and facilities abroad," Carney said.

"The President reiterated that protecting the American people, both at home and abroad, is the administration's top national security priority."

Obama will mark the moment the first hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center's twin towers in 2001 in New York with a moment of silence at the White House.

He will then travel to the Pentagon, which was also hit by a hijacked airliner and which now has a memorial to the victims of the attacks, for an observance ceremony.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

Date created : 2013-09-11

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