The US ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff have been reported killed by an armed Islamist mob that stormed and set fire to the United States consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi.
Security forces and civilians have clashed at the US consulate in Benghazi overnight. Local officials said a consulate staffer was killed. The attacks, condemned by the US, followed a similar incident in Egypt.
[Photo by Reuters]
The death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, was reported by Reuters, who had spoken to a Libyan official. It had not been confirmed.
It was not clear if the ambassador was in his car or the Libyan consulate when the attack occurred.
"The Libyan ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them," the official in Benghazi told Reuters.
It followed another earlier in the day on the American embassy in Cairo, in which no-one was injured but the flag was taken down and torn up and replaced with the black flag used by radical Islamists.
The violence was condemned by Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, who confirmed the death of a State Department official. "We are heartbroken by this terrible loss," she said. She said that in light of the attacks the US would be stepping up protection of "our personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide".
The mobs involved in both embassy attacks were mainly comprised of Salafis, followers of an ultra-traditionalist approach to Islam that has spread across North Africa as well as much of the rest of the Arab world from Saudi Arabia in recent years. Read more;