Wednesday, 12 September 2012

US ambassador 'killed in Libya'

 US Ambassador Christopher Stevens

The US ambassador to Libya has
died after being attacked by
militiamen storming the US
consulate in the eastern city of
Benghazi, reports say.

The ambassador was said to be
among four US officials killed in a
protest over a US-produced film that is said to insult the Prophet Muhammad.

The US state department has only
confirmed the death of one official -
but it has not named him.

Protesters over the film have also attacked the US embassy in Cairo.

In the attack in Benghazi, unidentified armed men stormed the grounds, shooting at buildings and throwing handmade bombs into the compound. Security forces returned fire but Libyan officials say they were overwhelmed.

Security forces returned fire but Libyan officials say they were overwhelmed. A Libyan official has said Ambassador Stevens died from suffocation as a result of the attack.

'No justification'

In a statement earlier, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed the
death of a US official, saying: "We are heartbroken by this terrible loss".

"Some have sought to justify this
vicious behaviour as a response to
inflammatory material posted on the
Internet," she said in a statement. "The United States deplores any
intentional effort to denigrate the
religious beliefs of others. But let me
be clear: There is never any
justification for violent acts of this

Reports say a militia known as the
Ansar al-Sharia brigade was involved in the attack, but the group has denied the claim, the BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says. Our correspondent says many people
are still armed following the conflict
that overthrew Col Muammar Gaddafi last year.

The film that sparked the
demonstration is said to have been
produced by a 52-year-old US citizen from California named Sam Bacile, and promoted by an expatriate Egyptian Copt.
The two men are described as having anti-Islamic views.

A trailer of the low-budget movie has appeared on YouTube translated into Arabic.

There were calls on social media
networks for protests against US
interests in the capital, Tripoli, but no disturbances have been confirmed, our correspondent says.

The rally followed a demonstration in Cairo, in which protesters breached the US embassy and tore down the US flag, which was flying at half mast to mark the 9/11 attacks, and replaced it
with an Islamist banner.

Thousands of protesters had gathered outside the US embassy in the Egyptian capital. Egyptian protesters condemned what
they said was the humiliation of the
Prophet of Islam under the pretext of freedom of speech.

"Both Muslims and Christians are
participating in this protest against this offence to Islam," said one protester, according to Associated Press news agency.

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