Report: Protesters converge on HQ of Islamist group blamed for US deaths

Pro-government demonstrators on Friday forced their way into the Benghazi headquarters of an Islamist group accused of involvement in the attack that killed four Americans last week, Reuters reports.

The protest came just as the Senate prepared to vote on legislation by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to cut all aid to Libya — as well as to Egypt and Pakistan — in retaliation for the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

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The pro-government protesters called for a “Rescue Benghazi day” aimed at disbanding Ansar al Shariah and other armed groups and turning over their offices to the national security forces, Reuters reports. There was no sign of fighting and it wasn't immediately clear if the building was occupied when the thousands of protesters converged on it.

The Libyan government has blamed Ansar al Shariah militants for carrying out last week's attack. The group has denied involvement.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Friday that the news confirmed that the Libyan people rejected radical Islam and were now demonstrating against it.

“Somewhere Chris Stevens is smiling,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview.

McCain said the events Friday in Libya show why the United States should not cut off aid to Libya.

“This shows how ill-founded and frankly a bad idea that Sen. Paul and the isolationists have,” McCain said.

— Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.

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