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White House calls Benghazi attack terrorist act

(Xinhua)

08:07, September 21, 2012

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The White House on Thursday called the attack on U.S. consulate in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, in which four American diplomats were killed, a terrorist act.

"It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Florida.

"Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials," he said.

The deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three of his staff on the night of Sept. 11 shocked the country. The attack was sparked ostensibly by a U.S.-made film that insults the Prophet Mohammed.

Addressing a hearing held on Wednesday by the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Matthew Olsen, director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, discussed "indications of possible involvement of elements of extremist groups," including those from al-Qaeda and the group's affiliate in the Maghreb, Carney noted.

"I would point you to a couple of things that Mr. Olsen said, which is that at this point it appears that a number of different elements were involved in the attack, including individuals connected to militant groups that are prevalent in eastern Libya," Carney said.

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