By NBC News staff — Updated at 7:59 a.m. ET: An anti-Islam film that sparked violent protests in many countries had “nothing to do with” a deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi earlier this month, Libya’s president told NBC News.
In an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Ann Curry, President Mohamed Magarief discounted claims that the attack was in response to a movie produced in California and available on YouTube. He noted that the assault happened on Sept. 11 and that the video had been available for months before that.
“Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September,” he said. “They chose this date, 11th of September to carry a certain message.”
The attack took the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens, as well as information management officer Sean Smith and security personnel Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
Magarief told Curry that based on the accuracy of the assault, he believes the attackers must have had training and experience using the weapons. “It’s a pre-planned act of terrorism,” he said, adding that the anti-Islam film had “nothing to do with this attack.”
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