Yesterday it was the US embassy in Egypt which fell victim to rioting as angry protestors stormed the building and replaced the US flag with a black one. Today, the violence shifts to Libya where the US ambassador and three staffers was just killed after an attack over a US-produced filmed deemed insulting to Muslims. Perhaps it is time for the US to replace one "pro-democracy" regime with another. From Reuters: "The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack on their car, a Libyan official said, as they were rushed from a consular building stormed by militants denouncing a U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad." Number of US ambasadors to Libya killed under Gadaffi's regime? Zero.
The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack on their car, a Libyan official said, as they were rushed from a consular building stormed by militants denouncing a U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad.
Gunmen had attacked and burned the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, a centre of last year's uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, late on Tuesday evening, killing one U.S. consular official. The building was evacuated.
The Libyan official said the ambassador, Christopher Stevens, was being driven from the consulate building to a safer location when gunmen opened fire.
"The American ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them," the official in Benghazi told Reuters.
There was no immediate comment from the State Department in Washington. U.S. ambassadors in such volatile countries are accompanied by tight security, usually travelling in well-protected convoys. Security officials will be considering whether the two attacks were coordinated.
Libyan deputy prime minister Mustafa Abu Shagour condemned the killing of the U.S. diplomats as a cowardly act.
The consular official had died after clashes between Libyan security forces and Islamist militants around the consulate building. Looters raided the empty compound and some onlookers took pictures after calm returned.
In neighbouring Egypt, demonstrators had torn down an American flag and burned it during the protest. Some tried to raise a black flag with the words "There is no God but God, and Mohammad is his messenger", a Reuters witness said.
From Al Jazeera:
The US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, has died from smoke inhalation in an attack on the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, the country's interior ministry and security sources have said.
An armed mob attacked and set fire to the building in a protest against an amateur film deemed offensive to Islam's Prophet Muhammad, after similar protests in Egypt's capital.
The ambassador was paying a short visit to Benghazi when the consulate came under attack on Tuesday night, Al Jazeera's Suleiman El-Dressi reported from the eastern Libyan city.
He died of suffocation during the attack, along with two US security personnel who were accompanying him, security sources told Al Jazeera. Another consulate employee, whose nationality could not immediately be confirmed, was also killed.
Two other staffers were injured, Idrissi reported. The deaths were confirmed by Wanis al-Sharif, the Libyan deputy interior minister, to the AFP news agency.
Mustafa Abu Shagur, the Libyan deputy prime minister, condemned the "cowardly act of attacking the US consulate and the killing of [the ambassador] and the other diplomats".
The bodies of the dead were transported to the Benghazi international airport, to be flown to Tripoli and then onwards to a major US airbase in Germany.
Abdel-Monem al-Hurr, a spokesman for Libya's Supreme Security Committee, said on Wednesday that rocket-propelled grenades had been fired at the consulate from a nearby farm.
"There [were] fierce clashes between the Libyan army and an armed militia outside the US consulate," he said. He also said roads had been closed off and security forces surrounded the building.
A group calling themselves the 'Islamic law supporters' carried out the attack in response to the relaese of the film, Al Jazeera's El-Dressi reported.