ALGIERS, Algeria — Several Egyptian members of the squad of militants that lay bloody siege to an Algerian gas complex last week also took part in the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Libya in September, the New York Times reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed Algerian official.
The Egyptians involved in both attacks were killed by Algerian forces during the four-day ordeal that ended in the deaths of at least 38 hostages, including three Americans, and 29 kidnappers, the official said. But three of the militants were captured alive, and one of them described the Egyptians' role in both assaults under interrogation by the Algerian security services, the official said.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is scheduled to testify before Congress today about the Libyan attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three staff members, raised the specter of regional cooperation among extremists soon after the mission in Benghazi was overrun.
The Algerians say the plot to seize the gas complex in the desert was hatched in northern Mali. Indeed, Mokhtar Belmoktar, the veteran militant who has claimed overall responsibility for the siege, is believed to be based there.
American counterterrorism and intelligence officials have said that some members of Ansar al-Shariah, the group that carried out the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, had connections to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, one of the militant groups now holding northern Mali. But U.S. officials have also said that al-Qaida affiliate played no role in directing or instigating the Benghazi attack.