After embassy shooting, Israel to appoint new envoy to Jordan

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Israeli source says ambassador Einat Schlein will be replaced in wake of Amman’s anger over handling of deadly June embassy shooting by Israeli guard who was attacked by screwdriver-wielding Jordanian in June; ‘The Jordanians don’t want her back, and this has been a big obstacle in patching things up.’

Israel plans to appoint a new ambassador to Jordan in a bid to calm Amman’s anger over the current envoy’s handling of a shooting by an embassy guard in July, an Israeli diplomatic source said on Wednesday. During July’s incident, an Israeli security guard shot and killed a Jordanian teenager who stabbed him with a screwdriver in the Amman mission compound, as well as the Jordanian landlord, who was killed by stray bullets.

Mossad Head Yossi Cohen has been reported to be the one carrying out negotiations on Israel’s behalf with Jordan, to return an Israeli ambassador to Amman.

 

A senior official confirmed that current Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein—who was photographed with the guard and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the Israeli mission was hastily called back—will not be returning to Amman. “The Jordanians don’t want her back, and this has been a big obstacle in patching things up.”

It has been further speculated that Israel will express regret over the death of the landlord, and that it will pay his family compensation.

Jordanian authorities say they suspect the shooting was unprovoked but could not investigate the guard due to his diplomatic immunity. A televized welcome he and Schlein received from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outraged Amman.

 

Since Schlein’s departure on July 24 the embassy has been shuttered, casting a pall over Israel’s ties with Jordan, a U.S-backed regional security partner and one of only two Arab countries that recognise Israel.

 

Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, declined comment on the case.

Israeli officials have said they were looking into the possibility of compensating the family of the second man caught in the crossfire.

 

They say it is highly unlikely Israel would prosecute the guard, as demanded by Jordan. His prospects of continued work in Israeli diplomatic security abroad were in doubt, however, after a Jordanian newspaper published his details.

Israel’s consulates in Turkey have been handling Jordanian applications for Israeli visas since the incident.

 

 

Despite the move, Israel has shown no sign of meeting Jordan’s demand that it launch criminal proceedings against the guard, who killed two Jordanians after one of them stabbed him with a screwdriver without provocation.

 

The Jordanian daily Al-Rad published shortly after the attack a picture and identity of the Israeli security guard, Ziv Moyal, 28, and his diplomatic identity card, delivering a blow to Israel which had censored the publication of his details.

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Libyan militant cleared of US envoy’s murder in Benghazi, convicted of terror

Benghazi (AFP)
An armed man waving his rifle as buildings are engulfed in flames inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi on 11 September 2012 (AFP)

A US jury on Tuesday acquitted accused militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah of the most serious charges he faced in connection with a 2012 attack on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya that killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The jury in US District Court for the District of Columbia found Khatallah guilty on only four of the 18 counts he faced and acquitted him on murder and other charges, according to the Justice Department.

He was convicted on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, one count of providing material support to terrorists, one count of maliciously destroying property and one count of using and carrying a semi-automatic weapon during a violent crime, according to a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

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The jury reached its verdict after five days of deliberations.

Khatallah is the first person to be tried in connection with the 2012 attack in Benghazi. A second person alleged to be involved, Mustafa al-Imam, made his first court appearance earlier this month.

The attack, which coincided with the 11th anniversary of 9/11, was carried out by some 20 men armed with grenades and heavy weapons.

Stevens and the second State Department official, Sean Smith, died of smoke inhalation after the consulate caught fire, while the two CIA contractors, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, were killed in the firefight by mortar rounds.

The case marks a major test of the government’s ability to capture and try alleged terrorists in civilian courts rather than military proceedings.

Prosecutors acknowledged that Khatallah did not directly participate in the attack on the US consulate or nearby CIA annex. Rather, they sought to convince the jury that he helped orchestrate it behind the scenes.

Khatallah was captured in 2014 by US military and FBI officials in Libya and transported to the United States aboard a Navy vessel.

He was first questioned by US intelligence officials and later by the FBI. Khatallah waived his right to speak first with an attorney, and prosecutors used his statements in the trial.

They also presented evidence including phone records showing that the defendant made calls to his associates right before they were captured on grainy videos participating in the attack and testimony from a variety of witnesses.

Defence attorneys for Khatallah said the witnesses lacked credibility, especially one witness who was paid $7 million to inform on their client and lure to him the place where he was captured.

In August, the court ruled against his lawyers’ motion to suppress whatever he told his interrogators as evidence because his rights to remain silent, knowing the charges against him, and having a lawyer present were violated.

His lawyers also argued that the lengthy 13-day trip by ship back to the United States was part of a scheme to extract information from him without legal protections.

Khatallah faces a statutory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for each of the two terrorism charges, 20 years for the property destruction charge and 10 years for the firearms offence.

The Benghazi attack led to a political firestorm in Washington that factored into the 2016 presidential elections, where Republicans repeatedly accused then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton of failing to adequately protect the diplomatic compound.

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Russia condemns new mortar attack on its embassy in Damascus.

MOSCOW, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) — Russia on Monday denounced the latest mortar attack on its embassy in Syria‘s capital Damascus, which caused damage to certain building facilities.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, a mortar shelling hit hit the fence of the Russian Embassy close to a building of its residential quarter, causing damages to power transmission lines and water supply system.

None of the staff in the embassy were injured, the ministry added.

Noting that the embassy was purposefully targeted, the ministry also called upon the United Nations Security Council to condemn the “brazen action”.

The Russian embassy in Damascus has been shelled several times since Moscow started to participate in anti-terrorism operations in Syria in September 2015.

The Russian air force is currently providing support to the advancing Syrian government troops in the east of the country against Islamic State (IS) terrorists.

Dozens of strikes have been launched by Russian bombers and submarines near Abu Kamal, one of the last IS strongholds in Syria, since the beginning of November.

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Isis urges jihadists to attack the Vatican in chilling new online poster

Islamic terror group Isis has unveiled a poster urging jihadists to attack the Vatican in the run up to Christmas.

The haunting image shows a terrorist at night with a wolf at his side looking down over St Peter’s Square. Behind him lies a rocket launcher and a machine gun.

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Its chilling text begins: “‘The Crusaders’ feast is approaching”.

The poster, circulated online by the pro-Isis Wafa media group, continues: “Show them the meaning of terrorism. Kill them and do not hold back with your blood the reward is paradise and let them know that you are from an ummah [Muslim community] where mountains bow down to.

“We will not forget our revenge for every drop of blood that they have shed we will not exclude the young, elderly or women you are all in the crosshairs of our arrows and what is about to come is more even worse.”

The image was highlighted by the US based the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks the online activity of white supremacist and jihadist groups.

This is not the first time Isis and its affiliates have made threats against the Vatican and Pope Francis.

Recently, a group that supports Isis released a gruesome image depicting a beheaded Pope.
In the lurid picture a jihadist stands over the body of a prisoner in an orange jump suit and clutches the decapitated head of the Pope Francis.

Next to the severed head the pontiff’s given name is written, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

Last year Italian police said they arrested least four people who planned to carry out terror attacks against the Israeli Embassy in Rome and the Vatican.

And in 2015 the authorities in Italy said they broke up a network of Islamist radicals that may have been planning an attack on the Vatican.

Police arrested nine suspects, including two men who were bodyguards of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden before he was killed in a raid by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011.

“For Isis, the Vatican in particular is a symbol of the ‘Crusader’ West, and any attack made against it would be widely accepted by all of its followers,” Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, told Newsweek last month.

 

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Jury to resume deliberations in Benghazi trial.

The 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in Libya killed four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens. Tomorrow, a jury will continue deliberating in the case of Abu Ahmed Khattala, who is accused of organizing the attack. Adam Goldman of The New York Times joins Megan Thompson with more details.

 

Read the Full Transcript

  • Megan Thompson:

    Tomorrow a jury in Washington D.C. resumes deliberations in the first trial stemming from the September 11th 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. That attack killed four Americans including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. For the past seven weeks federal prosecutors have tried to prove defendant Abu Ahmed Khattala was a ringleader of the attack. Yesterday I spoke with New York Times reporter Adam Goldman who’s been covering the trial. Can you tell us who Abu Ahmed Khattala is and what is he accused of?

  • Adam Goldman:

    Well Abu Ahmed Khattala is a militia leader who lived in Benghazi and he’s simply accused of orchestrating the attacks on September 11th, 2012 on the U.S. diplomatic mission in which the ambassador was killed and another State Department employee, and a secret CIA base about a mile away in which two CIA contractors were killed.

  • Megan Thompson:

    I understand that building the case against him was a very complicated. There was even an informant that was who was paid $7 million. Talk to us a little bit about that.

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  • Adam Goldman:

    Sure. This was an extraordinary difficult case for the FBI to build against Khattala mainly because the FBI couldn’t get into Benghazi to handle the informant. Typically in these types of situations the FBI agents who actually handle the informant. But in this situation they actually had to hand it off to military commanders who snuck into Libya and debriefed the informant every four months. They started working with the informant the end of 2012. It took took a long time for him to get what he needed from Khattala before they were satisfied they could move forward with the prosecution.

  • Megan Thompson:

    You attended several days of the trial. Can you just talk to us a little bit about what it was like? I understand that some of the witnesses had to testify in disguise?

  • Adam Goldman:

    A couple of the guys who work for the CIA wore wigs and mustaches. Their identities were classified and they’re protected so they were able to take the stand and under disguise. Khattala is there every day. He’s not in shackles – he sits quietly at his table with his lawyers. And you really see the power of federal courts on display when you’re watching this trial.

  • Megan Thompson:

    He is being tried in civilian court in a military court. Why was that decision made and what’s the implication?

  • Adam Goldman:

    Well I think it would be difficult to try Khattala in a military commission. He’s not affiliated with Al Qaeda – these people haven’t presented the case that he is. But he was prosecuted and charged by the Department of Justice with 18 counts – involved in the murders of these four Americans. And I think it was important to the Department of Justice and the FBI to hold somebody responsible and bring him back and prosecute him in civilian court. You know it’s sort of a canard this idea that civilian courts aren’t adequate to deal with terrorists but they’ve been dealing with terrorists for a very long time and Khattala is one of many foreign born terrorists who have been brought back to face trial. And in fact that was successfully prosecuted.

  • Megan Thompson:

    So if he is found guilty where will he end up?

  • Adam Goldman:

    He will probably end up at the supermax in Florence, Colorado. It’s a maximum security prison. The worst of the worst are there and he’ll probably spend the rest of his life, 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.

  • Megan Thompson:

    Are there any other people accused of having a role in the Benghazi attacks who are going to be tried?

  • Adam Goldman:

    The Department of Justice and FBI have charged more than a dozen people who were involved in the attack. On October 30, First Delta Force, an elite military unit working with the FBI once again apprehended one of the suspects near Misurata which is in Libya along the coast, and they brought him back and in fact they intend to prosecute him. It was Khattala himself who identified Mustafa al-Imam, the one who was picked up recently.

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Prince Turki: Iran has not apologised for attack on Saudi embassy

In a blistering critique of Iran’s regional policy, Prince Turki Al Faisal told The National that its government is running on a “transnational sectarian ambition” and that the time is not conducive for Saudi-Iranian talks.

Saudi Arabia’s former chief of general intelligence described the economic and social changes under way in his country as “transformational” and “on the right track”.

He anticipated more progress in talks between Riyadh and Baghdad after Saudi Arabia strengthened economic and political links with a flurry of diplomacy this year.

On Iran, Prince Turki agreed with the Trump administration that parts of the nuclear deal should be renegotiated to guarantee its sustainability over the long term.

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“When it comes to the nuclear deal, 15 years [duration of the deal signed in 2015] is a blink of an eye in a nation’s history,” Prince Turki said. “Countries in the region need assurances that things won’t return to be threatening after that period with Iran’s nuclear programme and enrichment levels.”

Prince Turki served for more than 20 years as head of the country’s intelligence agency, before standing down in 2001. He went on to serve as ambassador to the US before taking his current position as chairman of the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh.

Regionally, Prince Turki, who spoke to The National during a visit to Washington this week, saw no room for Saudi-Iran negotiations in the current charged environment.

“We have seen no improvement in Iran’s behaviour since the signing of the deal, their reach and recruiting of proxies has even gone beyond the Arab World, it’s driving a transnational sectarian ambition deep into Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.

Prince Turki recalled the torching of the Saudi embassy in Tehran in January 2016.

“It’s been almost two years since the attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and we haven’t seen even an apology from Iran,” he said. “There is no sign at all for engagement or new room for negotiations.”

Prince Turki said Iran’s current behaviour “makes it hard to draw a line between doves and hawks in their government”.

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif “has consistently attacked Saudi as a government and as an entity in opinion pieces. That’s a different level of attacks”.

Asked about the unprecedented anti-corruption sweep launched earlier this month with the arrest of 11 princes and more than 200 current and former officials, Prince Turki said: “When King Salman ascended to the throne [almost three years ago], he referred to corruption as a disease that needs to be tackled in order for the Saudi society to move forward.”

He refused to comment on possible settlements in the arrests, adding that “what is clear now is that the issue is in broad daylight and we are waiting to see what the next official steps and statements are.”

Prince Turki applauded “the historic changes in the Kingdom” granting women the right to drive as of June 2018, or to enter stadiums and constraining the guardianship rules.

He also praised the progress made with Vision 2030 – the vast economic reform plan spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil revenues.

“This is a transformation,” Prince Turki said. Economically “we are waiting to see what happens with Vision 2030 but one report issued this week referenced that the private sector’s GDP contribution has risen by 80 per cent, that means we are on the right track. “

Prince Turki dismissed talk that the changes in Saudi Arabia are an attempt by Prince Mohammed to consolidate power. “Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidated power when he became Crown Prince in June. He didn’t come to power in a parachute and has full support of the king,” he said.

On Syria, the Saudi former diplomat reiterated his support for declaring a national ceasefire that encompasses all of the country to be followed by elections. He warned that unlike what happened in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, “bureaucracy in Syria should not be scrapped but there should be accountability and tribunals for crimes against humanity”.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia hosted members of the Syrian opposition to outline a unified vision ahead of UN peace talks in Geneva.

Prince Turki did not see an imminent breakthrough in Yemen where a Saudi-led coalition has been supporting government forces against Iran-backed rebels who seized the capital in 2014.

The kingdom has tightened access to the Houthi rebel-held territory after they fired a ballistic missile at Riyadh earlier this month. Aid agencies have warned that this is exacerbating a humanitarian crisis in which thousands of Yemeni’s face starvation.

“It is a continuing debilitating civil war and upheaval, the UN must set up mechanism to implement the ceasefire, with monitoring and enforcement measures,” he said. While acknowledging multiple efforts to broker an agreement between the parties he said: “I don’t see one materialising anytime soon.”

One ray of hope is in Saudi relations with Iraq, Prince Turki said, referencing increased diplomatic and economic traffic between Baghdad and Riyadh.

“Iraq is an Arab and a Muslim country, and one that could contribute greatly to the stability and security of the region” he said. “Unlike Iran who wants Iraq weak and divided, we want a strong united Iraq.”

Attack Against the Argentine Embassy in Chile: A Violation of International Law

JURIST Guest Columnist Ricardo Arredondo of the University of Buenos Aires School of Law discusses the aftermath of recent violence against Argentine diplomatic facilities in Chile…

On the night of October 23, both the residence of the Argentine Embassy and the Consulate General in Santiago de Chile were exposed to a violent situation[Spanish], when a group of people protesting in the streets, whose number ranged between 50 and 150 according to different sources, attacked the premises of the diplomatic and consular missions of Argentina.

People were demonstrating after the death of Santiago Maldonado outside these missions. At a certain point, they took a bus, set it on fire and blocked the Vicuña Mackenna Ave. [Spanish] where the missions are. Then, part of this large group of people destroyed objects on the public road, destroyed the entrance gate of the residence and caused important damages to the premises on the ground floors of both the residence and the consulate, including to a vehicle that was parked there. There were no [Spanish] personal injuries.

Attack Against the Argentine Embassy in Chile: A Violation of International Law

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (CVDR) [PDF] establishes that the receiving State, in this case Chile, “is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity” (Art. 22.2). A similar provision is contained in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) [PDF] (Art. 31.3).

The protection granted is not absolute, since the VCDR requires the adoption of “all appropriate steps”, which should be interpreted as the adoption of all measures proportional to the risk to the security of the occasion. This obligation may be reflected in the adoption of special internal laws or may be left to the police action, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Generally, the protection is carried out by the security forces of the receiving State through certain monitoring of the premises of the mission. When it is presumed that hostile demonstrations may occur because of the state of public opinion or the existence of some tension, the receiving State should strengthen police protection. If it does not do so and the mission is damaged, the receiving State may be liable.

The receiving State does not compromise its international responsibility by tolerating certain types of manifestations. But where a receiving State has failed in its duty to protect against intrusion or damage to the premises of the diplomatic and consular missions, it is clearly liable to pay reparations to the sending State, in this case Argentina, for the damages suffered, as Argentina did when a demonstration protesting the Armenian genocide caused damage to the premises of the residence of the Turkish ambassador in Buenos Aires in 2002.

The demonstration was disbanded and two people were arrested by the Carabineros (Chilean police), which is conducting an investigation into the events. Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz condemned [Spanish] the incident, calling it unacceptable to his Government, recalled that the diplomatic and consular missions are inviolable and apologized. He stated that additional measures will be taken to ensure security and to prevent the repetition of these events.

However, he left the door open for Chile to be exempt from international responsibility by saying that the event was “something massive” [Spanish], implying a circumstance that went out of control of the Chilean Government precluding wrongfulness in this situation. The Argentine Government, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, transmitted [Spanish] its deep concern for this violent attack.

It is still premature to reach any conclusion. It will be necessary to wait for the report of the Carabineros and the position of Chile to this event, which both countries have affirmed will not affect the good relations and the cooperation between them.

Ricardo Arredondo is a Professor of Public International Law at the School of Law, University of Buenos Aires and the author of Derecho Diplomatico y Consular, Abeledo-Perrot, Buenos Aires, 2016.

Suggested citation:Ricardo Arredondo, Attack Against the Argentine Embassy in Chile: A Violation of International Law, JURIST — Academic Commentary, Nov. 7, 2017, http://jurist.org/academic/2017/11/ricardo-arredondo-argentine-embassy-attack.php.

US experts prepare to release ‘sonic attack’ findings amid Cuba’s denial

HAVANA – While the U.S. State Department reported there were 24 victims of a “sonic attack” in Cuba and an investigation continues, Cuban officials this week continued to deny the incidents.

After Cuban diplomats complained about not receiving any evidence of such attacks from the U.S. government, they recruited experts to speculate about the possibility of an attack.

The experts didn’t have access to the alleged technology used or the medical history of the 24 victims reported. The Cuban government shared videos on Twitter.

“In my opinion, it’s not possible a cerebral concussion in the affected diplomats because there was no history of trauma in the affected person,” Dr. Nelson Gomez Viera, a Cuban neurologist, said in English.

Several sources told Local 10 News that medical experts from the University of Miami and the University of Pennsylvania were getting ready to release their findings by way of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Cuban diplomats have said they believe the sonic attacks were a fabrication to push for President Donald Trump’s new policy. Three weeks ago, they released a prime-time special on Cuban TV questioning the validity of the U.S. reports.

During a recent visit to Washington, D.C.,  Bruno Rodriguez, Cuba’s foreign minister, accused U.S. officials of “deliberately lying” to create a “pretext for damaging bilateral relations and eliminating the progress made.”

When Chris Allen learned that an invisible attack had hurt a U.S. government worker who was staying at Havana’s Hotel Capri, he finally had a culprit for his unexplained illness. It developed after he stayed at that same hotel in April 2014 and bewildered a half-dozen neurologists.

“It really, really frightened me,” said Allen, who works in finance.

U.S. officials said the sonic attacks started in 2016, two years after Allen’s visit to Havana. He also doesn’t remember the agonizing sound that others reportedly heard.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in October that investigators were revising assessments based on medical evaluations of the personnel who were affected.

“To anyone who knows anything about the Cuban government and the past of the Cuban government, it’s hard to imagine that certain things would not be known that they were taking place on that island right there,” Nauert said.

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Final arguments in trial of Benghazi attack ‘mastermind’

Prosecutors in the trial of the alleged Libyan mastermind of the 2012 attack in Benghazi that killed a US ambassador argued Thursday that he was equally responsible even if he did not personally take part.

Wrapping up final arguments in the trial of Ahmed Abu Khattala over the 2012 Benghazi attack, US government lawyers said he was guilty of conspiracy and murder in the deaths of US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

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“‘I will kill all the Americans, each and everyone of them…’: This is what the defendant Abu Khattala said and this is exactly what he did,” prosecutor Michael DiLorenzo told a jury in the trial in Washington federal court.

“On September 11, he took action,” DiLorenzo said, highlighting that the attack in the eastern Libyan city took place on the anniversary of the 9/11 Al Qaeda attacks.

Khattala, in his 40s with a long white beard, sat passively in his chair in the courtroom, where his trial opened seven weeks earlier.

DiLorenzo summed up his argument that Khattala was an Islamic extremist who hated Western culture and believed the US operated a cell of spies in Benghazi.

Prosecutors allege that he directed the attack by some 20 men armed with grenades and heavy weapons on the US consulate and a second annex building where agents of the CIA worked.

The attack set fire to the consulate, where Stevens and a second State Department official, Sean Smith, died of asphyxiation.

Later that night two former Navy Seals who were contracted to the consulate operation, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, were killed by mortar fire on the annex.

The attack shocked the United States. Stevens was the first American ambassador killed in the field since 1979.

Republicans in Congress launched an intense investigation that accused president Barack Obama and then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton of mismanagement, neglect and covering up the truth of the incident.

– Murder and terror charges –

Khattala is facing 18 separate charges including murder and material support for terrorists.

The 12-person jury is to begin weighing a verdict after final arguments in the case wind up on Thursday.

Khattala’s lawyers argue that although he is a conservative Muslim, he did not hate the West. To the contrary, they said he was a “Libyan patriot” who says he worked with Americans to bring down the Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi, who was killed in 2011.

The photographs and videos that show him at the site during the attack do not prove he was part of it, his lawyers say. He was only a bystander who came to watch.

But the US government argues he commanded the Islamist militia Ansar al-Sharia behind the attack.

Even if he did not physically participate, DiLorenzo argued, in a conspiracy “the defendant is equally liable.”

– Test case –

Khattala’s trial is a test case for foreign suspects forcibly brought to the United States for trial.

He was captured in 2014 when US special forces carried out a raid based on intelligence provided by a Libyan man who ultimately received a $7 million reward from the US government.

On November 4 a second Libyan accused of involvement in the Benghazi attack, Mustafa al-Imam, was put on trial in the same Washington court, days after being captured and brought to the United States.

Al-Imam was called one of the men who attacked the consulate.

Shots Fired at Police in Athens came from the Same Gun used in Mexican Embassy Shooting.

A group calling itself Organization for Revolutionary Self-Defense appears to be behind an armed attack on Monday night against riot police in the Athens neighborhood of Exarchia.

Mexican Embassy Attack

Ballistics tests on three assault rifle shell casings retrieved from the scene where a gunman fired at two police officers, say they match those found after similar attacks in January this year and April 2014 at the same location, outside the offices of the PASOK party. They also match the casings found after the Mexican Embassy in central Athens was shot at in the summer of 2016.

Revolutionary Self-Defense had claimed responsibility for the attack on the Mexican Embassy, but also that on PASOK’s offices in 2014. The urban guerrilla group has also said it was responsible for hand grenade attack on the French Embassy in November 2016 in which a guard was injured.

There were no injuries reported in Monday evening’s assault, as the two officers spotted their assailant when he was approaching and managed to dodge the bullets that were fired from a distance of 30-40 meters.

The shooter made off on a motorcycle being driven by an accomplice.

The attack is being treated as an attempt against the police.

“The officers were the target, not PASOK’s offices. The shots were fired at head height,” the vice president of the Union of Athens Police Employees, Dimosthenis Pakos, told Kathimerini.

Indonesian police arrest militant who planned attacks on Myanmar diplomatic mission and wedding reception of President’s daughter.

Indonesian counter-terrorism police have arrested a Muslim militant who planned attacks on a Myanmar diplomatic mission and the wedding reception of President Joko Widodo’s daughter, a police spokesman said Wednesday.

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Jakarta Police spokesman Raden Argo Yuwono said the suspect, 25-year-old Rizky Anggara Putra, was arrested following a raid at his rented house in the town of Bekasi, which borders the capital, on Monday afternoon.

Rizky, who had been living at the house with his 44-year-old mother for a short while, was “allegedly an Islamic State sympathiser”, Argo said.

“He planned to launch an ‘amaliyah’ (attack) at the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta and at the wedding ceremony of President Jokowi’s daughter,” the spokesman added.

The wedding for Kahiyang Ayu began Wednesday morning in Widodo’s hometown of Solo in Central Java Province. About 8,000 guests, including foreign ambassadors, are attending the reception.