A car bomb exploded just outside the French embassy in Tripoli early Tuesday morning, injuring two French security guards and a local girl, officials said.
The blast was so powerful it blew the front wall off the embassy. Windows of nearby buildings in this upscale, largely residential neighborhood were also blown out.
Deputy Prime Minister Awad Barasi said a 13-year-old girl in a nearby house was injured in the attack and will be taken to Tunisia for treatment.
A criminal investigation is under way to try to determine who was behind the attack, and why.FULL STORY
A bomb exploded outside the French embassy in Tripoli, Libya, early Tuesday morning, witnesses told CNN.
Two French security guards were injured in the attack, the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Witnesses told CNN the front wall of the embassy was blown off, and the embassy itself has extensive damage.FULL STORY
British Prime Minister David Cameron has arrived in Tripoli, Libya, Downing Street confirmed this morning.
“The PM has arrived in Tripoli to discuss how the UK can continue to help build a strong, prosperous, democratic Libya,” the prime minister's office tweeted.
Cameron's visit comes a week after the UK advised British citizens to leave the Libyan city of Benghazi because of an "imminent" terror threat. Earlier this week, British diplomats said the UK was was aware of reports of a possible threat to its embassy in Tripoli.
There have been mounting concerns about retaliatory attacks against Western interests in Libya following the French military intervention in Mali and the hostage-taking at a natural gas facility in Algeria earlier this month.
Cameron visited Algeria yesterday for talks with the government there, his office said.
[Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET] The governments of Britain, Germany and the Netherlands are advising their citizens to avoid the Libyan city of Benghazi.
Britain says there is a "specific, imminent threat to Westerners" in Benghazi and is advising its citizens there to leave immediately. The German Foreign Office also cites what it says is a specific threat.
The British Foreign Office also warns against any travel to the area, in a statement on its website.
The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli posted a statement on its website saying it knows of no specific threats to U.S. citizens in Benghazi, but it advises against all travel to the city.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday took on Republican congressional critics of her department's handling of the deadly September terrorist attack in Libya.
Conservative GOP members challenged Clinton on the lack of security at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi as well as the erroneous account that the attack grew spontaneously from a protest over an anti-Islam film produced in the United States.
At two hearings, which together totaled more than five hours, Clinton acknowledged a "systemic breakdown" cited by an independent review of issues leading up to the armed assault and said her department was taking additional steps to increase security at U.S. diplomatic facilities.
Here are five things we learned from the hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs committees.
[Updated at 5:03 p.m. ET] And after three hours, the session is over. The panel's chairman, Rep. Edward Royce, R-California, ends the session by saying he's concerned whether the independent review board captured fully what happened in Benghazi.
[Updated 12:13 p.m. ET] CNN's chief Washington correspondent, Jake Tapper, says he wasn't surprised that Clinton became emotional when she recalled calling the families of the two State Department personnel who died in Benghazi – Ambassador Chris Stevens and computer expert Sean Smith.
"A lot of diplomatic people, we don’t perceive hem in this country as necessarily putting their lives at risk – we think, oh, they work for the State Department, their job is not as dangerous. And it’s not true," Tapper said. "And people like Secretary Clinton have now learned that firsthand. … The other point to take is, from sources close to her, this really did take a very, very, strong emotional toll on her. In addition to an exhausting job, I think probably it’s all part and parcel of the exhaustion we’ve seen that she’s been suffering.”
[Updated 12:05 p.m. ET] CNN's chief Washington correspondent, Jake Tapper, sums up the criticism that Clinton received from some Republicans on the Senate panel this morning:
"Republicans were focused on two areas of criticism. One, of course, (was) the fact that the administration – specifically the United Nations Ambassador Dr. Susan Rice – initially in the Sunday show appearances ... (gave the view that) this was not a terrorist attack, this was a spontaneous protest because of that anti-Islam video, which of course turns out not to have been the case.
"And a lot of senators – Ron Johnson and John McCain especially – focused on why were these talking points false. Specifically, Johnson said that Dr. Rice was purposefully misleading the American public. Dr. Rice, of course, has said she was not – that she was merely using the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and that there was no effort to mislead. She was providing as much information as she knew at the time.
"The other area where there was significant criticism, of course, came from Sen. Rand Paul, who was talking about the lack of accountability – how come nobody was fired? He said that if he had been president at the time ... he would have relieved Secretary Clinton of her job, specifically for not having read all of these cables from on the ground in Libya, of diplomatic personnel requesting more security in the months leading up to the attack."
[Updated 11:37 a.m. ET] This morning's hearing has concluded.
Here are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's prepared remarks for a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday morning:
Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, members of the Committee, thank you for this opportunity.
The terrorist attacks in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 that claimed the lives of four brave Americans - Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty - are part of a broader strategic challenge to the United States and our partners in North Africa. Today, I want to offer some context for this challenge and share what we’ve learned, how we are protecting our people, and where we can work together to honor our fallen colleagues and continue to champion America’s interests and values.
President Obama will deliver his fourth State of the Union address before Congress on February 12. Watch CNN.com Live for all your political coverage.
Today's programming highlights...
9:00 am ET - Benghazi attack hearing - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on Capitol Hill today to discuss last year's attack of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. She'll first appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, then will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee at 2:00 pm ET.
Islamist militants who seized Westerners at an Algerian gas plant are demanding a safe passage to nearby Libya, authorities said, as fallout from the French offensive in Mali reverberates globally.
Media in the region reported that the attackers issued a news release demanding an end to "brutal aggression on our people in Mali" and cited "blatant intervention of the French crusader forces in Mali."
In the news release, the militants said they carried out the operation in Algeria because it allowed French forces to use its air space in attacking Islamist militants in Mali.FULL STORY
Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the investigation and fallout from the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Today's programming highlights...
8:00 am ET - Senate hearing on Benghazi - The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing on the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the lessons learned from it. The House Foreign Relations Committee hosts a similar hearing at 1:00 pm ET.
A report issued Tuesday about the September 11 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, cited "management deficiencies" at high levels of the State Department.FULL STORY
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify in December before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the September 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said Thursday.
Former CIA Director David Petraeus will testify Friday before the House Intelligence Committee about the September attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, the committee announced Wednesday.
Petraeus had been scheduled to testify before Congress this week, but his testimony was in question after he resigned last week as CIA director over an extramarital affair.
The former spokesman for late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi denied a report Saturday that he was captured by Libyan special forces, saying in an audio message that he is not even in the country.
Moussa Ibrahim said the report was simply an attempt to distract people from the government's alleged crimes in the city of Bani Walid, a former Gadhafi stronghold that has been the scene of clashes in recent days.
Mohammed al-Sabbee, the spokesman for Libya's prime minister, told CNN on Saturday that Ibrahim was captured in the town of Tarhouna and that he was being taken to the capital of Tripoli, 40 miles to the north.
Two sources close to Ibrahim told CNN in recent months that the former Gadhafi spokesman was not in Libya, and Ibrahim said the same in the seven-minute video posted to his Facebook page late Saturday.
"We are currently outside of Libya and we have no communication with Bani Walid," Ibrahim said in Arabic. "We are not even close to Bani Walid."
It is the second time this month that Ibrahim has denied a government report of his capture.
Official sources also said Saturday that one of Gadhafi's sons, Khamis Gadhafi, was killed after fighting in Bani Walid.FULL STORY
Libyan special forces outside Tripoli have captured the former spokesman for the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Moussa Ibrahim, who spoke on behalf of the government in last year's war that resulted in the ouster of Gadhafi and his government, was take captive by forces in Tarhouna, a town about40 miles south of Tripoli, said Mohammed al-Sabbee, the spokesman for Libya's prime minister.
Ibrahim is being taken to Tripoli, al-Sabbee says.FULL STORY
Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi may not have been killed in crossfire during his capture, but instead executed along with 66 others, including one of his sons, according to a new report.
Human Rights Watch says new evidence it collected about what happened one year ago "implicates Misrata-based militias in the apparent execution of dozens of detainees" after Gadhafi's death.
In an extensive report, "Death of a Dictator: Bloody Vengeance in Sirte," the human rights group says Libyan authorities have failed to follow through on a vow to investigate the death of Gadhafi, his son Mutassim, and dozens of others in rebel custody.
"Among the most powerful new evidence is a mobile phone video clip filmed by opposition militia members that shows a large group of captured convoy members in detention, being cursed at and abused. Human Rights Watch used hospital morgue photos to establish that at least 17 of the detainees visible in the phone video were later executed at the Mahari Hotel," the group says.
A Human Rights Watch research team visited the site of the final battle between Gadhafi's convoy and opposition forces, and interviewed officers in opposition militias as well as surviving members of the convoy.
"Our findings call into question the assertion by Libyan authorities that Moammar Gaddafi was killed in crossfire, and not after his capture," said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director for Human Rights Watch.
CNN's timeline of Gadhafi's final moments notes that as rebel forces were putting him into a vehicle, a firefight erupted and, caught in the crossfire, Gadhafi was shot in the head. He died moments before arriving at a hospital, according to then-interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril.
Human Rights Watch says video footage showed Gadhafi was "captured alive but bleeding heavily from a head wound, believed to have been caused by shrapnel from a grenade thrown by his own guards that exploded in their midst, killing his defense minister, Abu Bakr Younis." In the footage, Gadhafi is "severely beaten by opposition forces and stabbed with a bayonet in his buttocks, causing more injuries and bleeding. By the time he is filmed being loaded into an ambulance half-naked, he appears lifeless."
Some publicly known details of the September 11 killings of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, have changed in the weeks since the attack.
U.S. officials initially said the attack on the U.S. mission compound in Benghazi and a nearby U.S. annex came as protesters outside the mission rallied against an online video that unflatteringly portrays Islam's Prophet Mohammed. That explanation seems to have shifted as investigations progressed.
The following is the latest information that CNN has gleaned about the attack, and some unanswered questions.
Was the attack spontaneous?
Gunmen attacked the mission around 9:40 p.m., after Stevens retired to his room at the complex following an evening meeting with a Turkish diplomat, two senior State Department officials told reporters this week.
Dead after the gun attack and fire at the complex were Stevens and State Department computer expert Sean Smith, who officials said died of smoke inhalation. The two others – security contractors and former U.S. Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods – died of wounds they suffered in an attack on a nearby annex.
U.S. officials initially said gunmen began attacking the complex during a protest against the inflammatory online video, after a similar protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo earlier in the day. U.S. sources said it appeared the attackers used the Benghazi protest as a diversion to launch the attack.
But on September 28, Shawn Turner, spokesman for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, said the latest information indicated the attack was wasn't spontaneous, but rather deliberate and organized, perpetrated by "extremists."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday she has "absolutely no information or reason to believe there is any basis" to suggest that U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens believed he was on an al Qaeda hit list.
The remark came after a source familiar with his thinking told CNN that in the months leading up to his death, Stevens worried about constant security threats in Benghazi and mentioned that his name was on an al Qaeda hit list.
Stevens spoke about a rise in Islamic extremism and al Qaeda's growing presence in Libya, the source said.
The White House, for the first time Thursday, declared the attack that killed Stevens and three other people a terrorist attack.FULL STORY