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American teacher shot and killed in Benghazi

By Kyle Johnson,

Ronnie Smith, an American teacher, was shot and killed by gunmen on Thursday in the Libyan city of Benghazi.

According to The New York Times, Libyan security officials said that the 33-year-old from Texas was a teacher at an English-language school, where he taught chemistry.

Witnesses say that gunmen in a black jeep shot Smith as he was out jogging in the neighborhood of Fuwayhat. A security official said no motive had been determined yet, noting, "The assassination of the American teacher is a continuation of a series of assassinations that the city is going through."

Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, refused to go into detail, but confirmed that an American citizen had been murdered in Benghazi. In an emailed statement, Harf said, "We are in contact with the family and are providing all appropriate consular assistance."

Principal Peter Hodge at the International School Benghazi told NBC News that Smith was "very much love[d]," and had been teaching there for about 18 months.

Students at the school had nothing but positive things to say about the chemistry teacher. Yomna Zentani said, "He was the most amazing person, more like a best friend or a family member."

The security situation in Benghazi has not been stable since the ousting of Moammar Gadhafi, but as been falling apart as of late. Islamist militants began calling for U.S. citizens to be kidnapped in October. And most recently many private and public sector workers have protested the situation, with some going on a three-day strike.

 
 

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