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Libyan Islamist Group Confirms Chief's Death

FILE - An exterior view shows the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a day after it was attacked and set on fire September 11, 2012.

The Libyan Islamist militant group implicated by the United States in the 2012 killing of a U.S. ambassador has confirmed the death of its leader.

The announcement by Ansar al-Sharia on Saturday comes months after reports surfaced that Mohamed al-Zahawi was killed in fighting in eastern Libya. The time and circumstances regarding his death remain unclear.

Members of al-Zahawi's family and a Libyan official told Reuters he died from battle wounds.

Washington believes Ansar al-Sharia was behind the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Ansar al-Sharia is one of several factions fighting the Libyan military for wealth and control in Libya after the 2011 ouster of long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi.