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“If the residents’ demands are not met by then, the protesters will turn against the government,” said Nabil Elhuni, who was born in Benghazi and now lives in the Philadelphia area.

After the attack on the U.S. Consulate, Benghazi residents demonstrated in large numbers against the militias, including the Islamist group Ansar al-Shariah, which has been blamed for the assault. Ansar al-Shariah was driven out of town and has since disintegrated into smaller jihadist groups that are even harder to control.