AFRICA: U.S. Ambassador, 3 Other Americans Killed in Libyan Attack [UPDATE]
Mob Storms U.S. Consulate
Updates with suspicions that attack on consulate was pre-planned; questions raised about the identity of controversial film maker; drone surveillance of Libya stepped up; naval ships sent to Libyan waters.
The U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other U.S. government workers were killed in an overnight attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
“Make no mistake, justice will be done,” President Barack Obama said in a statement at the White House today (Sept. 12). He did not elaborate on any specific U.S. response, however. Obama was accompanied by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Rose Garden appearance. Neither official took questions from reporters.
The attack in Benghazi may have been pre-planned by a terrorist group, government officials said late Wednesday (Sept. 12), Reuters, Bloomberg, CNN and CBS and the Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, the FBI has opened an investigation and U.S. Navy warships have into Libyan waters to provide securit. Meanwhile, the FBI has opened an investigation and officials confirmed drone surveillance of Libya has been stepped up.
Earlier in the day, Clinton said: “We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence.” While the attack may have been prompted by “inflamatory material posted on the internet,” she said “there is no justification for this.”
WHAT IS KNOWN, SO FAR
Mobs, reportedly angered by an amateur anti-Muslim video making the rounds of the Internet, attacked the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. government employees. Details of how they were killed are still sketchy.
“Make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people,” Obama said at the White House. He noted that Libyan security forces on the scene had battled the mobs and carried the ambassador to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The attack came just hours after large demonstrations outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt Tuesday (Sept. 11). Some of the demonstrators there scaled a wall around the embassy compound, pulled down a U.S. flag and ran up a black flag proclaiming in Arabic the Muslim profession of faith: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.” No Americans were reported harmed in the Cairo demonstrations.
The U.S. Marine Corps, which is responsible for security at all U.S. embassies, has dispatched an elite anti-terrorism team to Libya.
Libyan officials condemned and apologized for the fatal attack and pledged that the perpetrators will be brought to justice. Libyan leaders are still re-organizing the government after the eight-month revolution and civil war. The fledgling government is also trying to control militias and armed gangs that sprang up during the revolt.
The video in question is reported to mock the Prophet Muhammed, caricatures his likeness – considered blasphemy in Islam – and condemning Islam as a “cancer” that preaches violence. But questions have been raised about the identity of the film’s producer and financial backer.
Aggravating the issue, Terry Jones, a Florida minister who caused an uproar – including deadly riots around the world – when he threatened to burn a Koran in 2010, has promoted the video on-line.