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American Chemistry Teacher Killed In Benghazi

Jeremy Fuster |
December 5, 2013 | 10:39 a.m. PST

Executive Producer



The New York Times reports that an American chemistry teacher had been killed in Benghazi on Thursday, according to Libyan security officials. 

Ronnie Smith, 33, was teaching chemistry at Benghazi's International School and had been living in Libya for just over a year with his wife and son. Residents say Smith was jogging in an upscale neighborhood when he was killed by gunmen driving a black jeep. Authorities say they have not yet determined the motive behind the attack.

An administrator at the International School told NBC News that Smith had been planning to return to his home in Texas in a few days to celebrate Christmas with his family. His students say he was "very beloved" and were grateful for the risk he took to educate them.

SEE ALSO | '60 Minutes' Apologizes For Botched Benghazi Report

"After everything that happened in Libya, we were losing hope and he was the only one who was supporting us, motivating us, telling us that as long as we studied everything would be okay. He was the silver lining," student Yomna Zentani told NBC News.

“He dedicated so much of his time for all his students. He chose to come here and help us and risk his life.”

Smith's death comes more than two years after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi, which has sent the country into a violent transition period as the temporary government struggles to fight the Islamist militias that have taken power. Last week, army special force fought with members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Islamist group suspected of the attack on the U.S. Consulate last year. In response, many workers in Benghazi staged a three-day strike protesting the government for failing to contain the violence.   

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