Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, was killed in Benghazi when Libyan militants stormed the U.S. consulate. Violence broke out in protest about a YouTube video that ridiculed Prophet Mohammad and portrayed him as a fraud and a womanizer. The video was an excerpt of a movie produced by an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian. The video was dubbed into Arabic and posted to YouTube. Stevens, 52, was killed when his car was bombed as he was attempting to flee the consulate. 20 armed attackers stormed the consulate, leaving four dead, according to Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif.
Libyan guards offered security to the Consulate as the battle ensued. The attackers were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons, as almost a dozen Americans tried to flee. At least one building was burned down during the attack. The Consulate in Cairo, Egypt was also attacked in outrage over the movie. Protestors climbed the wall of the Consulate and took down the American flag and replaced it with a black flag.
ABC News reports, “According to The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal and Egyptian media, the movie is called "Mohammed, Prophet of the Muslims" and has been promoted by Terry Jones, the controversial Florida preacher whose Koran burning in March 2010 led to the deadly violence in Afghanistan.” Jones released a statement Tuesday, saying the movie was titled "Innocence of Muslims" and was intended not to attack Muslims but to show the "destructive ideology of Islam. The movie further reveals in a satirical fashion the life of Muhammad," he said.
In a statement Tuesday, the U.S. embassy said it condemned "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” These attacks were the first of their kind on U.S. diplomatic facilities in both countries as they are attempting to overcome the ousting of longtime authoritarian leader, Moammar Gadaffi and Hosni Mubarak this year.
"I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives. I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants," President Obama said in a statement.
President Obama nominated Stevens to become ambassador to Libya earlier this year. His appointment began on May 22. Stevens was a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and served two tours of duty in Libya. Stevens served as the American Representative following the revolution.
Americans are being evacuated who are working in Benghazi as they brace for more possible attacks. The region is considered very volatile at this time as anger continues to grow. A group called Ansar al Sharia is taking responsibility for the attack. This group has beliefs similar to al Qaeda and can be found in east Libya.