Militant group claims Ambassador Stevens killed by 'Lions of Islam'

The online newsletter for a militant group linked to the Libya consulate attack boasted that U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed "at the hands of the Lions of Islam." 

The seven-page newsletter further substantiates that the Sept. 11 strike that killed four Americans was part of a coordinated plot, which U.S. officials now acknowledge. The newsletter was put out by the Madad News Agency, a Yemen-based media outlet for Ansar al-Sharia, and linked Stevens' murder to the broader Al Qaeda mission. 

The Middle East Media Research Institute, known as MEMRI, provided a translation to Fox News for the newsletter posted on Sept. 29. 

Coming 18 days after the terrorist attack on Benghazi, there is no direct claim of responsibility but the report states explicitly that it was carried out in an effort to defend the Prophet Muhammad and to avenge the killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi, one of Al Qaeda's most senior figures killed in a U.S. drone strike in June. 

In a web video posted before the Libya attack, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called for revenge attacks over al-Libi's death. 

The seven-page newsletter prominently carries a photo of Stevens as his body was being carried out of the consulate. Underneath, according to Memri's translation, it reads: "The dead American Ambassador after his killing at the hands of the Lions of Islam in Benghazi." 

Sources have told Fox News that the evidence points to a joint operation between Al Qaeda's north Africa affiliate and Ansar al-Sharia. 

The State Department on Thursday also designated Ansar al-Sharia as an alias for Al Qaeda.

Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.