Washington: The attack on a US consulate in Libya that led to the death of the ambassador and three of his staff resembled an al-Qaeda operation, a US lawmaker with access to intelligence has said.

"There are still some fuzzy details... but clearly it has all the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda-style event," Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told media on Wednesday.

"For months we've seen al-Qaeda looking for Western targets. That was all across northern Africa. We have seen certain activities that certainly lead you to believe on Thursday that it is an al-Qaeda affiliated group," he said.

Tuesday's attack by armed men on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi came amid a wave of protests in the Muslim world against a US-made amateur Internet film.

But the assault on the US compound was carried out by a more ruthless and heavily armed gang that the other demonstrations, leading many experts to argue that it was a pre-planned operation by an organized group.

It took place on September 11, an iconic date for jihadi militants as it is the anniversary of the 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington.

Asked whether he believed the date was significant, Rogers referred to his past experience in law enforcement: "I'm an old FBI guy. I don't believe a lot of coincidences all in the same day. So it certainly looks that way to me."

(Agencies)

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