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Obama Praises ‘Courage, Professionalism’ of Khatallah Operation

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2014 – President Barack Obama today praised the courage and professionalism of those involved in the operation that resulted in the capture of Ahmed Abu Khatallah, a key figure in the September 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

“The United States has an unwavering commitment to bring to justice those responsible for harming Americans. Since the deadly attacks on our facilities in Benghazi, I have made it a priority to find and bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of four brave Americans,” the president said in a statement.

Obama said he recently authorized an operation in Libya to detain Khatallah.

“The fact that he is now in U.S. custody is a testament to the painstaking efforts of our military, law enforcement and intelligence personnel,” he said. “Because of their courage and professionalism, this individual will now face the full weight of the American justice system.”

Even as the nation welcomes the operation’s success, the president said, it also pauses to remember the four Americans who gave their lives in Benghazi representing their country: Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

“As I said shortly after the attack, they exemplified the values that we stand for as a nation, including a commitment to freedom and justice,” Obama said. “All Americans should be grateful for their service, just as we are grateful to all our personnel – civilian and military – who represent our country around the globe. We will continue to honor our fallen by carrying on their efforts in support of the Libyan people’s aspirations to live in a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic society.

“With this operation, the United States has once again demonstrated that we will do whatever it takes to see that justice is done when people harm Americans,” the president continued. “We will continue our efforts to bring to justice those who were responsible for the Benghazi attacks. We will remain vigilant against all acts of terrorism, and we will continue to prioritize the protection of our service-members and civilians overseas.”

The United States also will sustain its support for the Libyan people “as they work to overcome years of tyranny and do the difficult work of building a democracy,” the president said.


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