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What’s the precise timeline of the events of the night of the attack?

Here’s how the events went down in Benghazi time.

Fire damage in the main compound villa in which Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens suffered the asphyxiation that killed him at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on October 3, 2012.
Michael Birnbaum/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Zack Beauchamp is a senior correspondent at Vox, where he covers ideology and challenges to democracy, both at home and abroad. Before coming to Vox in 2014, he edited TP Ideas, a section of Think Progress devoted to the ideas shaping our political world.

Day of September 11, 2012: Demonstrators gather outside US diplomatic buildings in a number of Muslim-majority countries, even climbing the wall surrounding the US Embassy in Cairo, to protest The Innocence of Muslims, an amateur anti-Islam film, clips of which had been recently translated into Arabic by Egyptian media.

Between 8:30 and 9:00 pm, Benghazi time: An armed mob assembles around the gates of the US mission in Benghazi. Here’s a map:

benghazi map Wall Street Journal

9:42 pm: The attackers breach the mission’s gates, “easily” (according the Senate Intelligence report) overpowering the small American and Libyan security detachments. After gaining access to the building, they set fire to it.

10:00 pm: American security attempts to evacuate Ambassador Stevens and Officer Smith, but loses them both in the smoke. A diplomatic security agent attempts to locate them, but is forced to retreat to the roof of the building after suffering severe smoke inhalation.

10:10 pm: A CIA support team arrives at the mission to defend the diplomatic staff and assist with the evacuation.

11:15 pm: After one final search for Ambassador Stevens fails to find him, the combined American forces leave for the CIA Annex (about a mile away) under heavy fire. They arrive 15 minutes later.

11:56 pm: Militants attack the CIA annex with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). The sporadic fire claims no casualties.

5:15 am, September 12: The Annex is hit by mortar fire for 11 minutes. Agents Woods and Doherty are killed attempting to return fire, and another unnamed agent is seriously wounded. The severity of the mortar attack convinces the chief of base that they need to abandon Benghazi altogether.

6:00 am: Local Libyan forces finally arrive and protect the Americans during their drive to the airport and exit from the city.

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