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Africa

Obama vows justice for slain ambassador to Libya

Video by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-09-12

US President Barack Obama vowed Wednesday that the US would work with the Libyan government to bring to justice those who killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other embassy staff in an rocket attack in the eastern city of Benghazi.

• Obama condemns ‘outrageous’ killings
• Anti-terrorism marines head to Libya to bolster security
• Police in Tunis fire tear gas to disperse Salafist protesters at embassy
• Libya’s interim president extends apology to America


US President Barack Obama vowed in a White House address on Wednesday that the U.S. would "work with the Libyan government to bring to justice'' those who killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other embassy staff in an rocket attack in the eastern city of Benghazi. 

The attack, which came hours after a mob stormed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and tore down the U.S. flag, was presumed to have been triggered by a movie, whose trailer has gone viral on YouTube, depicting the Islamic prophet Mohammed in disrespectful ways.

“No justification for this type of senseless violence,” says President Barack Obama

"Make no mistake. Justice will be done,'" a sombre Obama pledged at the White House, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at his side.

He ordered increased security at U.S. diplomatic missions overseas, particularly in Libya, and said he condemned ``in the strongest possible terms the outrageous and shocking'' attack.

Clinton said she was particularly appalled that the attack took place in Benghazi, which the U.S. had helped liberate from dictator Muammar Gaddafi during the Arab Spring revolution in Libya this year.

French President François Hollande strongly condemned the killing of the slain ambassador, describing the attack as an "odious" crime. 

He called on Libya to do everything to find those behind the attack and bring them to justice. 

Shock in Libya

Libya’s interim president, Mohammed el-Megarif, apologized to the United States for the "cowardly" attack. 

He offered his condolences for the death of the four Americans and vowed to bring the culprits to justice and maintain his country’s close relationship with the United States.

The three Americans killed with Stevens were security guards, he said.

“We extend our apology to America, the American people and the whole world,” el-Megarif said.

According to a Libyan official who spoke to Reuters, Ambassador Stevens and his colleagues had fled the consulate and were trying to reach a safer location when the car they were travelling in was hit by a rocket.

“How could this happen in a country we helped liberate?” asks US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Reuters reported looters raiding the empty US consulate’s compound, walking off with desks, chairs and washing machines.

The eastern city of Benghazi was the birthplace of the revolution that overthrew former dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi last year. In recent months it has witnessed sporadic outbreaks of violence, including attacks on Western targets. Many of the armed groups involved in the revolution have refused to lay down their weapons.

9/11 anniversary

The violence followed similar scenes in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, where protestors scaled the walls of the US embassy in Cairo, tore down the American flag and replaced it with an Islamic banner.

Both attacks, which coincided with the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, were sparked by outrage over the film “Innocence of Muslims” which ridicules the Prophet Mohammed.

The movie was made by American-Israeli Sam Bacile, a 52-year-old real-estate developer from California who told the Wall Street Journal that “Islam is a cancer”.

Excerpts from the film, which has been dubbed into Arabic, were posted on YouTube. It depicts Mohammed as a philanderer who approved of child sex abuse and contains other insulting claims.

Terry Jones, the controversial Christian pastor who triggered riots in Afghanistan in 2010 by threatening to burn the Koran, has been involved in promoting the film.

Associated Press reported that Bacile had gone into hiding in the wake of the attacks and blamed lax security for the death of the state department official at the consulate.

FRANCE 24 with wires

Date created : 2012-09-12

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