Further to my previous post about the violence at the Cairo and Benghazi US embassies, the shocking news is that the American Ambassador Christopher Stevens was murdered, along with three other embassy staff.
The US ambassador to Libya is among four Americans killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, President Barack Obama has confirmed.
Unidentified armed men stormed the grounds overnight amid uproar among Muslims over a US-produced film said to insult the Prophet Muhammad.
They shot at buildings and threw handmade bombs into the compound.
It has not been confirmed how the ambassador, J Christopher Stevens, and the others died.
Reports suggest that Ambassador Stevens and his staff went to the consulate in an attempt to evacuate the site after it was attacked.
They were reportedly trying to leave the consulate building for a safer location when gunmen launched an intense attack, “The American ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets in their direction,” a Libyan official in Benghazi told Reuters news agency.
The Libyan doctor who treated Mr Stevens in hospital said he had died of severe asphyxiation, apparently from smoke inhalation, with no other injuries, and that he had tried for 90 minutes to revive him.
He was the only American brought into the Benghazi Medical Centre and initially nobody realised he was the ambassador, Ziad Abu Zeid told the Associated Press news agency.
A second US man killed in the attack was named as Sean Smith, a father of two who was employed as an information management officer.
The names of the remaining two victims have not yet been released.
This time the White House’s condemnation of the attack was a lot more robust than the earlier weak-kneed comment about the violence at the Cairo embassy.
“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 statement. “Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.”
In an allusion to the film that sparked violent protests in both Benghazi and Cairo, Egypt, the president said that while the United States “rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose… senseless violence.”
Israeli President Shimon Peres sent a condolence letter to Obama condemning the attacks and expressing sorrow on behalf of all of Israel.
Meanwhile Obama is walking back the sorry statement after the Cairo embassy attack, saying it was issued by the Cairo embassy without clearance from Washington:
The Obama administration is disavowing a statement from its own Cairo embassy that seemed to apologize for anti-Muslim activity in the United States.
“The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government,” an administration official told POLITICO.
The U.S. embassy in Cairo issued a statement Tuesday condemning the anti-Muslim film that reportedly sparked the violent protests against U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya.
“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions,” the embassy said in a statement.
I wonder whether this statement would have been disavowed had the violence not gone so far in Libya. It’s about time that America stopped grovelling before the evil terrorists and stood up proudly for what it believes in.