There will be different accounts of what really happened. But this one opens up the possibility that pro-Gaddafi - highly-trained former military personnels could have been behind the attack on the consulate.
“I really believe that this attack was planned,” he said, adding to suggestions by other Libyan officials that at least some of the hostility towards the Americans was the work of experienced combatants. “The accuracy with which the mortars hit us was too good for any regular revolutionaries.”
Obeidi’s Libya’s Shield Brigade was formed by civilians during last year’s U.S.-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi and is now part of the ad hoc government militia forces which the fledgling democratic administration uses to keep order.
Other Libyan officials cited the possible involvement of former soldiers still loyal to Gaddafi’s family or Islamist fighters, some of whom have trained and fought in Afghanistan.
U.S. officials have noted it was “complex attack”. Several Libyan officials and witnesses said an initial demonstration at the consulate appeared to be largely unarmed, though some elements of an Islamist militia were spotted.
At some point, the crowd became incensed, believing they were under attack from within the consulate, many fetched weapons and the consular villa ended up in flames, with most of the Americans fleeing to the safe house after two, including ambassador Christopher Stevens, had been fatally injured.
Of the eight American troops who had come from Tripoli, one was killed and two were wounded, Obeidi said. A Libyan deputy interior minister said a second American was also killed in the attack on the safe house. It was not clear if this was a diplomat or one of the consulate’s original security detail.
“It began to rain down on us,” Obeidi told Reuters, describing the moment the attack began - just as the Libyan security force was starting up the 10 pickup trucks and sedans they had brought to ferry the Americans to the airport.
“About six mortars fell directly on the path to the villa,” he said. “During this firing, one of the marines whom I had brought with me was wounded and fell to the ground.