Skip to main content

Where are the Benghazi suspects?

By Jomana Karadsheh, Holly Yan and Michael Pearson, CNN
updated 2:10 PM EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
Faraj al-Shibli was last seen being detained by a local militia in Marj, Libya, two days ago, a Libyan source said.
Faraj al-Shibli was last seen being detained by a local militia in Marj, Libya, two days ago, a Libyan source said.
  • Faraj al-Shibli is the second Benghazi suspect to surface in recent weeks
  • His body was found in an eastern Libya town
  • Last month, U.S. commandos captured Ahmed Abu Khattalah, who is charged in the attack
  • Four Americans died in the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- A man once detained by Libyan officials and interviewed by the FBI over suspected links to the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, has turned up dead.

Faraj al-Shibli, whose name is also spelled Chalabi, was last seen in the custody of a local militia in Marj two days ago, a Libyan source said. His body was found Monday in the eastern Libyan town.

He's the second Benghazi suspect to surface in recent weeks. U.S. forces arrested suspected attack mastermind Ahmed Abu Khattalah last month.

Here's what CNN has previously reported about those suspected of involvement in the attacks. With the exception of Abu Khattalah, it's unknown if any have been charged in connection with the Benghazi attack. The charges remain under seal.

Al-Shibli -- The Libyan government took al-Shibli into custody in March 2013 in connection with the Benghazi attack. The FBI was able to question him during that detention. Al-Shibli was no longer in custody as of May 2013, according to a Libyan source briefed on the case. Libyan officials have not explained why he was released. It's not clear what role he may have played in the attack, or if he's among the suspects named in sealed federal charges brought last year. Al-Shibli was a member of the Libyan Islamist Fighting Group, a militant organization that tried to overthrow the government of late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in the mid-1990s. That regime named him as a suspect in the murder of a German counterintelligence official and his wife, who were killed in the Libyan town of Sirte in 1994. Libyan authorities also issued an arrest warrant for former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in connection with the crime.

Benghazi suspect appears in U.S. court
Slain Libyan activist's family speaks

Abu Khattalah -- The Libyan militia leader for Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi has been described as the mastermind of the attack -- an allegation he denied in an interview with CNN's Arwa Damon. He was captured by U.S. forces last month and brought to Washington to face charges. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of providing material support to terrorists and will remain jailed until his trial, a federal magistrate ruled July 2.

Ali Ani al Harzi -- Tunisian authorities held him in Tunis for several weeks in 2013 in connection with the Benghazi attack. A Tunisian judge released him in January on grounds of insufficient evidence, but a U.S. law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the Benghazi investigation told CNN at the time that al Harzi's release "doesn't mean he's any less a suspect."

Mohammed al-Zahawi -- One of the leaders in Ansar al-Sharia. He has denied the group's involvement in the attack, and U.S. officials have also expressed doubts.

Sheikh Nasser al-Tarshani -- Ansar al-Sharia's religious authority.

Sufian bin Qumu -- He headed the Darnah branch of Ansar al-Sharia, which the U.S. State Department said in January was involved in the Benghazi attack.

Several unnamed Yemeni men -- A senior law enforcement source told CNN in May 2013 that authorities had traced the men to northern Mali, where they are believed to have connected with a fighting group commanded by jihadist leader Moktar Belmoktar. It's unclear where these men might be.

Moktar Belmoktar -- He is an Algerian terror suspect linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb who was on the receiving end of an excited phone call from someone in or close to Benghazi in the attack's aftermath, a source briefed on the investigation told CNN in May 2013. "Mabruk, Mabruk!" the caller repeated, meaning "Congratulations" in Arabic. There is no proof the call was about the attack, but it was assumed to be, the source said. Troops in Chad claimed to have killed Belmoktar in 2013, but several taped messages from him have been released since then.

Mohammed Jamal Abu Ahmed -- According to a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the investigation, authorities were examining in December whether Abu Ahmed played a role in the attack. He is allegedly the leader of a post-revolution terrorist network in Egypt. He was released from jail after the downfall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak but was thought to be back in an Egyptian prison late last year.

Read: President Obama under fire over Benghazi suspect

Read: Controversy swirls over handling of Benghazi suspect Abu Khatallah

Read: Death of a revolutionary: Murder robs Libya of 'a true patriot'

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reported from Libya; CNN's Holly Yan and Mike Pearson wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Susan Candiotti, Paul Cruickshank, Tim Lister, Nic Robertson and Fran Townsend contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Attack on U.S. compound in Benghazi
updated 1:21 PM EDT, Wed August 7, 2013
September 11, 2012, in America was a day of solemn remembrance. In Libya, it was a day of violence that ended with four Americans killed.
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
Now that he is in custody, what will U.S. officials do with alleged Benghazi mastermind Ahmed Abu Khatallah?
updated 10:10 PM EDT, Tue June 17, 2014
Benghazi attack suspect Ahmed Abu Khatallah was watched by U.S. commandos, law enforcement and intelligence for days before his capture.
updated 11:13 AM EDT, Sat September 15, 2012
U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens died in an assault on the American Consulate in Benghazi.
updated 1:15 AM EDT, Sat September 15, 2012
Former Navy SEAL commandos working as diplomatic security officers and a computer expert were among the victims of the deadly Benghazi attack.
updated 1:04 AM EDT, Wed August 7, 2013
Four Americans were lost on September 11, 2012. Erin Burnett talks to the families of the victims of Benghazi attack.
updated 11:07 PM EST, Wed January 15, 2014
A report says the deadly attack in Benghazi was "likely preventable" based on known security shortfalls and prior warnings that the security situation there was deteriorating.
updated 10:04 PM EST, Fri November 15, 2013
CIA contract security officers who responded to the attacks on the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi were told by the CIA to sign nondisclosure agreements, a congressional source told CNN.
updated 1:00 AM EDT, Wed August 7, 2013
Could the Benghazi attack have been prevented? And why didn't the U.S. military respond in time? John King reports.
updated 4:18 PM EDT, Tue August 6, 2013
Erin Burnett talks to Geoff Porter about why there wasn't enough manpower in Benghazi prior to the attack.
updated 11:27 AM EDT, Fri May 9, 2014
Republicans call it a government cover-up similar to what forced Richard Nixon to resign. Democrats call it a right-wing conspiracy theory.
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Wed August 7, 2013
Benghazi remains a flashpoint in Washington for two very different reasons: indefensible pre-attack policy decisions and irresistible post-attack politics.
Nine months later, there were no leads, no significant arrests and a shroud of fear hanging over conversations about the U.S. consulate.
updated 1:20 AM EDT, Wed August 7, 2013
CNN's Erin Burnett takes us through the night four Americans lost their lives in a terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.
updated 1:33 PM EDT, Tue June 17, 2014
Arwa Damon returned to Libya and spoke to a Libyan militia leader who is now charged in the Benghazi attack.
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Wed August 7, 2013
Federal authorities have filed the first charges related to the terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
updated 2:40 PM EST, Tue December 2, 2014
Here's a look at what you need to know about the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
updated 5:42 PM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
Attackers set the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on fire on September 11, 2012.