US Ambassador and further US staff confirmed dead in Benghazi attacks
The US Ambassador to Libya and three other US Foreign Service staff have been confirmed killed during an attack by a mob in a protest against an American-made film deemed offensive to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
While news announced initially, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed, that only one official was killed, witnesses and some media sources insisted that the US Ambassador was in the building during the attack.
Hours later, it was officially announced by the country’s interior ministry that the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, had died from smoke inhalation in the attack on the US consulate and a safe house refuge in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. The California-born Ambassador was paying a short visit to the city when the consulate came under attack, Al Jazeera reported.
He died of suffocation during the attack, along with two US security personnel who were accompanying him, security sources told Al Jazeera. Another consulate staff was also killed during the attack, the sources added. An evacuation plane with US commandos units then arrived from Tripoli to evacuate them from the house.
In a statement, US President Barack Obama condemned the killings and said that he had ordered security at all US diplomatic posts to be increased.
Stevens, who commenced his duties as US Ambassador to Libya in May 2012, had previously served twice in Libya, and also served as the US government’s representative to the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) during the 2011 uprising.
The incident in Benghazi came after a huge protest in neighbouring Egypt to condemn the American-made film.