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AQAP says Benghazi attack in retaliation for killing of al-Libi

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Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) issued a statement on Saturday (September 15th) claiming the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in Libya was in revenge for the killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi, who was al-Qaeda's second-in-command following Ayman al-Zawahiri.

"The killing of Sheikh Abu Yahya [al-Libi] only increased the enthusiasm and determination of the sons of [Libyan independence hero] Omar al-Mukhtar to take revenge upon those who attack our Prophet," AQAP said in a statement, posted on a jihadist website.

The attack on the US consulate in Benghazi and the storming of other US embassies around the region drew broad condemnation from Arab and Muslim leaders and sparked anti-violence protests in Libya itself.

Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood also condemned the Tuesday attack on the US consulate.

The Brotherhood expressed its "condolences to the American people" over the killing of US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, who died in the attack.

Al-Libi, whose death was confirmed by Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri nearly three months after it was reported, dealt a serious blow to al-Qaeda. He was regarded as one of al-Qaeda's principal spokesmen during the Arab Spring demonstrations, which caught the organisation off guard, relegating it to a marginal group that had no role in the peaceful demonstrations that succeeded in overthrowing the regimes of Tunisia's Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak.

The attack on the US consulate took place one day after Yemeni troops reportedly killed Saeed al-Shihri, AQAP's second-in-command, in a raid in eastern Yemen.