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Libyans burn U.S. Consulate in Benghazi; U.S. official killed

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Egyptian protesters climb the walls of the U.S. Embassy during a protest in Cairo on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

A U.S. official was killed and others injured when an armed mob attacked the U.S. Consulate in Libya’s eastern port city of Benghazi on Tuesday.

The building has burned down, according to multiple sources in Libya.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned “in the strongest terms” the attack.

Mrs. Clinton confirmed that one State Department officer had been killed.

“We are heartbroken by this terrible loss,” she said.

Mrs. Clinton spoke on the phone with Libyan National Assembly President Mohamed Yousef Al-Megariaf to coordinate protection of Americans in his country.

The mob in Benghazi was angry over a video reportedly produced in the U.S., which they said was insulting to Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.

“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” Mrs. Clinton said.

The U.S. deplores “any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. … But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind,” she added.

Earlier, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland blamed “a group of militants” for the attack.

“We are working with the Libyans now to secure the compound,” she said in a statement on Tuesday night.

“We condemn in strongest terms this attack on our diplomatic mission,” she added.

In Egypt’s capital, Cairo, protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy and tore down the flag.

This is the second time the U.S. mission in Benghazi has been attacked.

In June, a bomb exploded outside the U.S. diplomatic mission soon after the U.S. confirmed the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, a Libyan-born cleric and al Qaeda operative, in a drone attack in Pakistan.

Al Qaeda leader confirmed al-Libi’s death in a message delivered on Tuesday to mark the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

The revolution against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime first started in Benghazi in February of 2011. The uprising quickly spread across Libya and toppled the 42-year-old dictatorship of Gadhafi, who was killed in the custody of rebels in his hometown of Sirte on Oct. 20 last year.

About the Author

Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.

Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.

 

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