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Why Is Ali Harzi Still at Large?

From Benghazi to Tunis.

Oct 21, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 07 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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Other Ansar al-Sharia leaders also have well-established al Qaeda pedigrees. One, a U.N.- and U.S.-designated terrorist named Sami Ben Khemais Essid, was formerly the head of al Qaeda’s operations in Italy, where he plotted to attack the U.S. embassy in Rome. 

All of this has a direct bearing on not just our understanding of Ben-ghazi, where members of another chapter of Ansar al-Sharia took part in the attack on the American mission, but also what happened three days later in Tunisia. 

On September 14, Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia orchestrated an assault on the U.S. embassy in Tunis. In its annual Country Reports on Terrorism, published in May, the State Department noted that Hassine “was implicated as the mastermind behind the September 14 attack” on the U.S. embassy, which involved “a mob of 2,000-3,000” people, “including individuals affiliated with the militant organization Ansar al-Sharia.”

Ali Harzi’s story exposes a web of connections between al Qaeda’s global network and the twin attacks in Ben-ghazi and Tunis in September 2012. Instead of being in custody and questioned about his knowledge of these events, however, Ali Harzi continues to serve Ansar al-Sharia. 

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. 

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