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Benghazi, Libya (CNN) — Ten days after four Americans were killed in their Libyan city, hundreds marched in Benghazi and took over the headquarters of a radical Islamist group tied to the attack.
Thousands of protesters had taken to the street earlier Friday, loudly declaring that they — and not those behind last week’s deadly attack — represent the real sentiments of the Libyan people.
“I am sorry, America,” one man said. “This is the real Libya.”
In the evening, an offshoot of several hundred people then headed toward the headquarters for Ansar al-Sharia, a loosely connected radical Islamist group.
As militia members fled, the protesters torched a vehicle and took over the group’s building without firing a single shot. Some of those involved claimed to have freed at least 20 captives held inside, and expressed their intent to assume control over other Ansar al-Sharia buildings.
Army General Naji al-Shuaibi said the citizens, whom he referred to as “revolutionaries of the February 17 uprising,” later asked that the Ansar al-Sharia headquarters be handed over to the Libyan army.
“Indeed, we rushed here and we will now take it over,” said the general. “There are also other places that we intend to take over (which belong to armed groups) if the revolutionaries and the people allow us to do so.”