Libyan PM Calls Reaction to Benghazi Attack an ‘Exaggeration’

By Patrick Burke | January 25, 2013 | 3:47 PM EST

Ruins of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack. (AP Photo)

- The prime minster of Libya called the reaction by countries around the world to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi  an “exaggeration.”

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan added that everything that is being said at this point about the attack is “just guesses.”

“What happened in Benghazi, I think there was exaggeration on behalf of some countries who took some preventive measures and we can understand that,” Zeidan said through an interpreter during a discussion Friday at the 43rd World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

“They asked their citizens to leave, but the reality is that these people of foreign nationality live very peacefully in Libya, and there are security measures to protect them” he said.

Discussion moderator Fareed Zakaria of CNN then asked Zeidan, “Do you have an al Qaeda presence in Libya?”

Zeidan responded, “It is said that that is so. There are some Islamists whose beliefs are close to those of al Qaeda but the reports we received from our security apparatus show that there are a few people who have come who are known to be affiliated with al Qaeda but there are not many.”

However, Zakaria pressed further: “So you do not believe the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi was an attack by al Qaeda?”

Zeidan replied that the Libyan government’s investigation into the attack is ongoing and “We have not reached any final conclusions.”

“We have to talk to all of the witnesses and all of the accused and then we will draw conclusions,” Zeidan said.. However, everything being said now is really just guesses.”

The attack on the American  consulate in Benghazi, which took place four months ago, left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stephens.

The State Department received information to indicate the Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia claimed responsibility.

On Thursday at a Pentagon press conference, outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said of the attack in Benghazi, “If we find out who the perpetrators were, we’re going to go after them.”

He added: “Americans were killed and we don’t stand by when Americans were killed and not take action.”

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