Sep 12, 2012 12:43 PM GMT
I'm actually really surprised... from what I've seen at US consulate/embassy events, and even privately in developing countries, American diplomats are well protected by Marines (corrected). That there were no other casualties other than the diplomats is odd... but this appears to be a breaking story...
The U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other American diplomats were killed when suspected Libyan religious extremists stormed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi late Tuesday, according to Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagour.
Libyan officials spent the night in a manhunt trying to find those responsible for the killings which occurred when an angry and armed mob attacked the diplomatic facility in an apparent protest against an anti-Islamic video created and produced by a group of American Jews.
"It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the death of four American personnel," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a statement. The statement identified another of those killed as Sean Smith, a foreign service information management officer.
The circumstances surrounding the death of Ambassador Stevens and Mr. Smith weren't immediately clear. Two Libyan security officials in the capital Tripoli gave conflicting reports of the events that occurred several hundred miles away. One said that the ambassador's convoy had been hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Another said that the diplomats died of smoke inhalation.
President Barack Obama issued a statement early Wednesday condemning the killing and praising the four diplomats. "They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in contrast to those who callously took their lives," the statement said.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the consulate attack or for the death of the diplomats. A witness to the mob late Tuesday said that the Libyan protesters had identified themselves as members of Ansar al-Shariah, an armed brigade that follows the conservative religious Islam of some jihadis. However, Ansar delivered a statement early Wednesday denying that its members were behind the attack.