US diplomats withdrawn from Sudan and Tunisia following protests
In its latest reaction to a wave of anti-American strife in the Middle East, the US issued a statement requesting non-essential staff and US citizens in Tunisia and Sudan to leave the countries. The Canadian government issued a similar announcement, closing its embassies in Sudan, Libya and Egypt “for the day as a precautionary measure”. These measures come in the aftermath of the call of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula for fresh attacks against Western embassies.
“Given the security situation in Tunis and Khartoum, the State Department has ordered the departure of all family members and non-emergency personnel from both posts, and issued parallel travel warnings to American citizens,” state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.
Tunisia’s interior ministry threatened to punish all those involved in Friday’s US embassy attack, as police arrested the leader of a hardliner jihadist group. Four people were killed and 46 injured in the assault on the US Embassy in Tunis, while around 5,000 people stormed the German embassy before breaking into the US mission in Khartoum. The British embassy was also attacked and at least two people were killed.
Although the Sudanese government refused to allow a platoon of American Marines to bolster security at its mission in Khartoum, the US sent a 50-member Marine squad to Yemen, and a similar elite unit was dispatched to Libya.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti said that Sudan is capable of protecting diplomatic missions, according to the Sudanese state news agency. The US state department said the Sudanese government had “taken some steps to limit the activities of terrorist groups,” but that elements remained and had threatened to attack Western interests, the BBC’s Paul Adams in Washington reports.
The US embassies in Tunis, Khartoum, Sana’a, Tripoli, Benghazi and Cairo were attacked by protesters infuriated by an obscure, 13-minute, anti-Islamic video made in the US called Innocence of Muslims that provoked a violent reaction across the Muslim world.