A photo of American teacher Ronald Smith, who was killed in Benghazi, Libya, from his Twitter account.
(CBS NEWS) -- An American teacher working at an international school in the eastern Libyan
city of Benghazi was shot and killed Thursday, a school official confirmed to
Ronald Smith, a chemistry teacher at the International School Benghazi, was
jogging at the time of the attack, according the official.
"He was doing his morning
exercise when gunmen just shot him. I don't know why. He was so sweet with
everyone," Adel al Mansouri, director at the school in Benghazi, told Reuters.
The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli confirmed a U.S. citizen was killed and said it was in touch with the
next of kin.
It was not immediately clear who was
responsible for the killing.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the school called
Smith a "much loved teacher who supported students in their
learning and always had time to help when asked."
"Ronnie was a professional who gave his time freely and
without question," the statement said. "We do not understand why this
has happened and it is extremely difficult for his students and his colleagues
Libyan special forces have been
battling militants from Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi.
U.S. officials blame the group for attacking the U.S. consulate in the eastern city in September 2012, killing the ambassador and three other Americans.
Security sources said three soldiers
were also killed in separate attacks on Thursday in Benghazi.
Two years after a NATO-backed uprising
ousted veteran leader Muammar Qaddafi, Libya's armed
forces are struggling to contain militias, former fighters and Islamist
militants who control parts of the vast oil-producing country.
In a 17-minute audio message released on the Jihadi blogs on
Sunday, al Qaeda's American-born leader Adam Yahya Ghadahn said the kidnapping
of suspected al Qaeda operative Abu Anas al-Libi outside his home in Tripoli on
October 5 was a crime of piracy, urging Libyans to attack U.S. interests
everywhere in retaliation.
"Hit their interests wherever you may find them ... in our
countries and theirs," he said.
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