American teacher Ronnie Smith was reportedly shot dead by gunmen in Benghazi today while on an early morning jog. Smith, 33, was a chemistry teacher at the International School in Benghazi, in eastern Libya. He was originally from Texas and married, according to news reports.
The State Department has confirmed the death of a U.S. citizen in Libya. They said they are also in contact with the victim's family. An unconfirmed photograph circulating on Twitter shows a man wearing running shorts face down on the street, with what appears to be blood by his side and headphones still in his ears.
There was an immediate outpouring on Twitter from Libyans who knew him. Mr. Smith's love for Libya and education were remembered.
Smith's Twitter handle read, "Libya's best friend."
Many recalled his humor despite the difficult times his student's faced.
The State Department warns U.S. citizens not to travel to Libya, which has experienced considerable instability since the ouster of former Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi in 2011. An attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in September 2012 killed US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Benghazi, where the 2011 Libyan Civil War began, has seen a rise in local militia's in recent months. Residents reportedly blame these militia's for the near-daily assassinations and bombings that target the army and police.
Earlier on Thursday, three Libyan soldiers were also assassinated. Nine people died in clashes last week between the Libyan army and a local Islamist militia.
Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor
Contact Miriam Berger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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