Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested the deadly consulate attack in Libya involved the Al Qaeda affiliate in North Africa, going further than any other Obama administration official in acknowledging the assault was the work of hardened terrorists.

Clinton was speaking Wednesday to foreign leaders gathered at a meeting convened by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to address the threat of extremism in the region.

“Now with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions,” Clinton told the group, according to a New York Times report. “And they are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions under way in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi.”

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