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Libyan detained in attacks on U.S. consulate in Benghazi

| Thursday, March 14, 2013, 7:39 p.m.

TRIPOLI — Libyan authorities have detained a man investigators believe could be an important witness or suspect in the attacks on U.S. outposts in Benghazi in September, according to people familiar with the matter.

The man, a Libyan national identified as Faraj al-Chalabi, fled to Pakistan after the attacks and recently returned to Libya, said the sources, who include people in the United States and Libya close to the investigations. One Libyan security source said he was from Eastern Libya.

The U.S. government is aware of al-Chalabi's detention, and there are indications that American investigators may have been able to pose questions to him, according to the sources. It is not clear whether those questions were posed in person or through Libyan authorities.

Precisely what role the detained man may have played in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks is unclear.

Sources in Washington said they did not believe he was a principal instigator or a front-line leader of the attacks on a poorly guarded, temporary diplomatic mission compound and a more fortified CIA compound nearby.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, two CIA security officers and another American diplomat were killed.

The FBI has been investigating, and its agents have visited Libya. So far, no individuals are known to be charged in connection with the attacks.

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