US envoy to Libya killed in attack over movie
In a major setback for United States of America on the 9/11 anniversary day, as its an ambassador to Libya Tuesday night died in a rocket attack by unidentified armed men, who stormed the American consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, media reports said Wednesday.
According to BBC report, an US envoy Christopher Stevens who has visited to Benghazi, the second biggest city of Libya was killed in an agitation called by unidentified armed men. The armed men were protesting a movie that is said to insult the Prophet Muhammad.
Besides Stevens, three others were also killed in the attacks, reports say.
Stevens is the second US envoy anywhere to be killed in an attack like this. Adolph Dubs, ambassador to Afghanistan, was assassinated in Kabul in 1979.
According to Chinese News Agency Xinhua that quoted Al Jazeera TV as saying that Stevens, who was on a short trip to Benghazi, Libya's second biggest city, died of suffocation as smoke engulfed the consulate after the mob set it on fire.
But some reports said he died when a car in which he was trying to get away came under rocket fire.
According to CNN, unidentified armed men stormed the grounds, and shot at buildings and threw handmade bombs into the compound.
Security forces returned fire but Libyan officials say they were overwhelmed.
Three American security staff were also killed, a contractor working at the mission told CNN.
Stevens served in the post since May 2012. He previously served in Libya twice, in 2007-09 and during the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
He worked as international trade lawyer before joining the US Foreign Service in 1991.
The film that sparked the demonstration is said to have been produced by Sam Bacile, a 52-year-old US citizen from California and promoted by an expatriate Egyptian Copt, a native Christian.
Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur said Stevens was "a friend of Libya, and we are shocked on the attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi".
"I condemn these barbaric acts in the strongest possible terms. This is an attack on America, Libya and free people everywhere," Abushagur wrote on Twitter.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed "a staff member" died.
"We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. Some have sought to justify this vicious behaviour as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet," Clinton said in a statement.
"The US deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But let me be clear - There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind," she said.
In Cairo, several thousands of Egyptians protested in front of the US embassy against the same movie, allegedly sponsored by Americans but not by the US government or Hollywood companies.
BBC said protesters breached the US embassy and tore down the US flag, which was flying at half mast to mark the 9/11 attack, and replaced it with an Islamist banner.
US ambassador to Afghanistan Adolph Dubs was assassinated Feb 14, 1979.
An expert in Soviet affairs, Dubs was killed in an exchange of gunfire between Islamist extremists, who kidnapped the envoy, and Afghan security forces.
--With IANS Inputs--
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