The United States government is compiling preliminary information about possible militant targets in Libya suspected in the attack last month on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, US media reported.
Detailed information about the suspects is being assembled by the US military’s top-secret Joint Special Operations Command, senior US military and counterterrorism officials told the New York Times.
The government is proceeding with caution and a senior US official told CNN that he didn’t “think that a final list of who was involved is solid.”
US intelligence has said it believes the attack was a “deliberate and organized terrorist assault carried out by extremists,” that could be connected to al-Qaeda.
The list of potential suspects signifies the first step taken by the Pentagon and CIA in carrying out President Barack Obama’s promise to bring the militants to justice.
Decisions have not been made on any potential targets and the US would also like to gain Libya’s support before beginning any military action, CNN reported.
But if the US military pursues retaliation to capture the attackers, the Libyan government has recently said it will oppose any such action.
“We will not accept anyone entering inside Libya,” Mustafa Abu Shagur, Libya’s prime minister, told the Al-Jazeera television network. “That would infringe on sovereignty, and we will refuse.”
US military actions could include drone strikes, missions held jointly with Libyan authorities, and raids conducted by Special Operations similar to the one that killed Osama Bin Laden, the New York Times reported.