He is being held in a secret “secure location outside Libya” after he was apprehended on Sunday by the US military working in co-operation with law enforcement personnel, according to Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby.
But a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Khatallah was being held aboard an American ship after he was grabbed on the outskirts of Benghazi.
No civilians were killed in during the operation, and all of the Americans involved have safely departed Libya, Kirby confirmed.
Court documents previously sealed until news of Khatallah’s capture became public on Tuesday reveal that he is charged with killing a person; supporting terrorists; and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama said in a statement that the country’s authorities will continue to track down those responsible for the attacks, he said.
“Since the deadly attacks on our facilities in Benghazi, I have made it a priority to find and bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of four brave Americans,” President Obama said.
He continued: “The fact that (Khatallah) is now in US custody is a testament to the painstaking efforts of our military, law enforcement, and intelligence personnel. Because of their courage and professionalism, this individual will now face the full weight of the American justice system.”
He added that the US must support the Libyan people as they work to build democracy, as the country has remained unstable since the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The Obama administration has come under intense criticism from opposition Republicans for being unable to apprehend those responsible for the attack, and accused then-Secretary of StateHillary Clinton of failing to take adequate steps to ensure the safety of American diplomatic personnel.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters traveling with President Obama on Tuesday: “We have made it clear since that cowardly attack on our facility that we would go to any lengths to find, apprehend and bring to justice those who perpetrated it.”
”The capture of Abu Khatallah is not the end of that effort, but it marks an important milestone,” he added.