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Libyan president says 50 arrested in U.S. consulate attack

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09/16/2012 11:40 AM
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Libyan president says 50 arrested in U.S. consulate attack
Libyan president says 50 arrested in U.S. consulate attack

Libyan leader says extremists threaten stability
11:07am EDT

President of the newly-empowered Libyan national assembly, Mohammed Magarief speaks to Reuters, in Tripoli August 11, 2012. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori

WASHINGTON | Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:08am EDT

(Reuters) - Libyan President Mohammed Magarief said on Sunday that about 50 people have been arrested in connection with the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last week, which he said was planned by foreigners linked to al Qaeda.

The attack on Tuesday in Benghazi came amid protests over a video made in the United States that Muslims saw as blaspheming the Prophet Mohammad. It resulted in the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

Magarief told CBS News that some of the suspects - including those who planned the attack - were from outside Libya and mentioned Mali and Algeria. He said some had links to al Qaeda and described other attackers as being affiliated with the group or sympathizers.

"It was definitely planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago and they were planning criminal acts since their arrival," Magarief said in an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation."

He said the security situation in Libya remained "difficult" for Americans, as well as for Libyans. The United States wants the FBI to investigate the consulate attack, but Magarief said it may be too soon to send in investigators.

"It may be better for them to stay away for a little while until we do what we have to do ourselves," he said.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said on Sunday talks shows that the preliminary information indicated the attack was a spontaneous reaction to the video.

[link to www.rters.com]