TRIPOLI, Libya – An American chemistry teacher was shot to death as he was jogging in Benghazi on Thursday, highlighting persistently tenuous security in the eastern Libyan city where the U.S. ambassador was killed last year.
There were no credible claims of responsibility, but suspicion is likely to fall on Islamic militants active in Benghazi.
The U.S. State Department identified the teacher as Ronald Thomas Smith II. The State Department did not provide Smith’s hometown, and it was not possible to immediately confirm a statement from a Libyan official that he was from Texas. The University of Texas in Austin said he graduated from the school in 2006 with a master’s degree in chemistry.
Smith taught chemistry at Benghazi’s International School, a Libyan-owned facility that follows a British curriculum.
Hagel to speak with Gulf leaders
MANAMA, Bahrain – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel faces a tough challenge as he looks to reassure nervous allied Gulf nations that the U.S. will continue its strong military support to the region, even as world powers move forward on the nuclear pact with Iran.
Hagel is to speak later this week to a gathering of Gulf leaders. U.S. officials say he will stress America’s commitment to the region, including sales of military weapons and efforts to improve the region’s ability to defend itself.
His visit comes less than two weeks after international leaders reached a deal with Iran freezing parts of its nuclear program in exchange for some relief from crippling Western economic sanctions.