U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens is confirmed to have died in Tuesday’s conflict in the U.S. consulate building in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi, Libyan officials said on Wednesday. Marine unit dispatched to secure U.S. consulate in Benghazi after deadly attacks.
Hundreds of protesters, angered by an alleged U.S.-made movie that insults Prophet Mohammed, broke into the U.S. consulate building in Benghazi on Tuesday night, and set ablaze the building.
Wanis Sharef, a Libyan deputy interior minister in charge of the country’s security affairs in the east, confirmed to media on Wednesday that the U.S. ambassador was killed.
The U.S. ambassador, who was on a short trip to Benghazi, died from suffocation as a result of smoke inhalation, as protestors set fire at the scene. Three staffers were also killed during the fierce clashes.
The bodies of the four killed U.S. diplomatic personnel will be transferred to Libya’s capital of Tripoli, sources told Xinhua.
Stevens had served as the U.S. representative to Libya’s National Transitional Council during last year’s unrest that toppled former strongman Muammar Gaddafi before taking up the post as an ambassador in May.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday strongly condemned the fatal attack that killed the ambassador and three other Americans.
“I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans,” he said in a statement released by the White House.
Sharef told Xinhua that 12-18 people in the American consulate had been injured during Tuesday’s attack, and that a total of 32 U. S. diplomatic personnel had been evacuated to safe place.
As Libya’s Foreign Ministry and the General National Congress ( GNC) are expected to hold press conferences on the issue Wednesday night, GNC President Mohammed Maqrif has already apologized during a press conference in the capital Tripoli to the United States over the death of the ambassador, adding that no one will escape from punishment.
On Tuesday, several thousands of Egyptians also protested in front of the U.S. embassy in the capital Cairo against the same movie, allegedly sponsored by Americans but not by U.S. government or Hollywood industries.
Obama vows to bring killers of U.S. diplomats to justice
U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday denounced a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya ‘s eastern city of Benghazi, vowing to bring the killers of four U. S. diplomats to justice.
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack,” the president said in a statement delivered at the White House Rose Garden, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at his side.
“And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people,” he added.
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens died with three other diplomats on Tuesday night after hundreds of protesters, angered by an alleged U.S.-made movie that they say insults Prophet Mohammed, broke into and set ablaze the U.S. consulate building.
Stevens, who was on a short trip to Benghazi and reportedly died from suffocation as a result of smoke inhalation, became the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in an attack since 1979. The attack occurred the same day when the Americans were marking the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” Obama said. “But there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.”
“We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done,” he stressed.
“I’ve also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world,” the president noted. A U.S. Marine anti-terrorism team was reportedly being deployed to Libya to beef up security there.
Obama also stated that the Tuesday attack “will not break the bonds” between the United States and Libya.
In a separate statement made at the State Department, Clinton said that U.S.-Libya friendship will not be “another casualty of this attack,” describing the incident as an act by “a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya.”
“A free and stable Libya is still in America’s interests and security, and we will not turn our backs on that,” she added.
Stating that “it is especially difficult that this happened on Sept. 11,” the top U.S. diplomat asserted: “As long as there are those who would take innocent life in the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace.”
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