US Ambassador Chris Stevens killed in consulate attack in Libya: officials
By Ibrahim al-Majbari ,AFP
September 13, 2012, 12:02 am TWN
BENGHAZI, Libya -- The U.S. envoy to Libya and three other Americans were killed when a mob outraged over a movie mocking Islam stormed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libyan and U.S. officials said on Wednesday.
President Barack Obama quickly ordered increased security at U.S. diplomatic posts around the world, while slamming Tuesday's deadly assault in Benghazi, an Islamist stronghold in eastern Libya.
"I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens," Obama said, in a White House statement.
"I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe," he added.
Stevens, a career officer with the U.S. Foreign Service, had been in the country for less than four months after taking up his post in the capital Tripoli in May.
Witnesses said he was killed when angry Islamists late Tuesday attacked the consulate with rocket-propelled grenades before looting it and torching the building.
A security source in Benghazi — cradle of the 2011 uprising that toppled the regime of late dictator Moammar Gadhafi — said it was suspected that the envoy may have suffocated due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
A picture taken by an AFP photographer shows an injured Stevens being aided by Libyans inside the premises of the consulate.
The Benghazi attack came just hours after Islamists had stormed the U.S. embassy in Cairo in a similar protest against the amateur American-made Internet video.
Clips of the film at the center of the controversy have been posted on the Internet and private satellite channels have been showing segments.
The low-budget movie, "Innocence of Muslims" in which actors have strong American accents, portrays Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.
It pokes fun at the Prophet Mohammed and touches on themes of pedophilia and homosexuality, while showing him sleeping with women, talking about killing children and referring to a donkey as "the first Muslim animal."
The film was produced by Israeli-American Sam Bacile, according to the Wall Street Journal, but Egyptian media say that some Egyptian Copts living in the U.S. were involved in the production.