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Middle east

Crowd storms US embassy in Yemeni capital Sanaa

Latest update : 2012-09-13

A crowd stormed the US embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Thursday, less than two days after the US consulate in the Libyan town of Benghazi was targeted in an attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other diplomatic staff.

Angry protesters stormed the US embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, on Thursday as regional discontent over an amateur US film mocking Islam spread throughout the region.

Police used water cannons and fired warnings shots to drive the protesters out of the building, according to an AFP correspondent at the scene. There were unconfirmed reports of casualties on both sides. A security official reported to AFP that a protester had been shot dead by police outside the embassy.

The protests in Sanaa come two days after a similar attack on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi resulted in the deaths of four US citizens, including the US ambassador in Libya, Christopher Stevens.

There were also reports of fresh scuffles outside the US embassy in Cairo on Thursday, a day after protesters scaled the embassy walls, ripped down the US flag and replaced it with the black Islamic flag.

FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Cairo, Sonia Dridi, said most of the protesters there were men, a mix of Islamists and football supporters “who have been a regular fixture at protests in Egypt” since the 2011 overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian president reacts

Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi condemned the offence caused by the US-produced movie which has caused offense to Muslims, but warned against resorting to violence.

Morsi has promised that Egypt would honour its obligations to ensure the safety of American personnel on Egyptian soil.

"We Egyptians reject any kind of assault or insult against our prophet. I condemn and oppose all who... insult our prophet," he said in remarks broadcast by state television.

"(But) it is our duty to protect our guests and visitors from abroad," Morsi said. "I call on everyone to take that into consideration, not to violate Egyptian law... not to assault embassies."

Teargas used to disperse protestors

Police have also used teargas to disperse protests outside the US embassy in Tunisia, while several hundred people gathered in front of the US embassy in Sudan.

It also emerged on Thursday that an Iraqi militia that carried out some of the most prominent attacks on foreigners during the Iraq war has threatened U.S. interests in the country over the anti-Islam film.

"The offence caused to the messenger (Prophet Mohammed) will put all American interests in danger and we will not forgive them for that," Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Asaib al-Haq militia, said.

In the wake of the ongoing unrest, Afghan authorities have ordered the indefinite shutdown of YouTube to prevent viewing of the anti-Muslim film.

On Thursday US President Barack Obama called on his Egyptian counterpart Mohammed Morsi to “cooperate with the United States in securing US diplomatic facilities and personnel," the White House said in a statement.

"The President said that he rejects efforts to denigrate Islam, but underscored that there is never any justification for violence against innocents and acts that endanger American personnel and facilities," it also said.

(FRANCE24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-09-13


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