CAIRO – A man suspected of links to the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate was a Libyan national who turned his rented apartment into a small weapons cache before he died, an Egyptian security official said Thursday.
The suspect identified as 35-year-old Karim el-Azizi detonated an explosive device on Wednesday after briefly exchanging gunfire with security forces that had surrounded his building in Cairo's northern suburb of Nasr City, the official said. The blast set fire to the apartment and destroyed parts of the building.
Along with el-Azizi's body, a large number of explosives were found in the apartment, including 15 rocket-propelled grenades and 195 hand grenades.
During the raid, security forces arrested four other men in a nearby suburb, the official said, describing them as part of a "terrorist cell." He declined to say if the four were linked to el-Azizi, and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.
El-Azizi is the first suspect Egypt has linked to the Benghazi attack, although Tunisia has already said it arrested a 28-year-old Tunisian linked to it. Interior Ministry spokesman Tarrouch Khaled said Wednesday that the suspect, Ali Harzi, was in custody in Tunis, facing terrorism charges.
Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. has been looking into the arrests of two Tunisian men detained in Turkey, reportedly in connection with the attacks.