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Who Is Benghazi Suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala?

In the aftermath of Benghazi suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala's capture, questions are being raised about who he is and why it took so long to bring him in.

Who Is Benghazi Suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala?
Facebook via The Washington Post

One of the men suspected of planning the 2012 attack on a U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is in U.S. custody. The big questions now are who is he, and why did it take so long to nab him?

U.S. Special Operations forces took ‚ÄčAhmed Abu Khattala into custody in a village south of Benghazi Sunday. President Obama said Tuesday he hopes Khattala's capture will send a message. (Via CBS)

"It's important for us to send a message to the world that when Americans are attacked, no matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible and bring them to justice." (Via NBC)

But the fact that multiple journalists were able to find Khattala well before the U.S. military got its hands on him makes some pundits wonder why this capture took so long.

"We met with Ahmed Abu Khattala in public at the coffee shop of a well-known hotel here in Benghazi for around two hours. He seemed to be confident." (Via CNN)

The New York Times reported in 2012 Khattala denied any involvement in the consulate attack but "spent two leisurely hours on Thursday evening at a crowded luxury hotel, sipping a strawberry frappe on a patio and scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments."

As for what we know about Khattala himself, USA Today reports up until the 2012 attack, Khattala wasn't considered a major figure in the Ansar al-Sharia Islamist group suspected of plotting the attack.

We also know under the rule of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Khattala spent several years in the notorious Abu Salim prison for Islamist activism, and he was a construction worker for most of his life. (Via U.S. Navy)

Tuesday officials said Khattala is being brought by ship to face prosecution in a U.S. court.