An anti-Islamic film set off a spate of deadly attacks in the North African cities of Cairo, Egypt, and Benghazi, Libya, Tuesday that left Libya’s U.S. ambassador and three others dead.
The mob in Benghazi attacked the U.S. consulate, setting fire to the building and looting its contents. U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith and two other staffers died during the attack.
Al Jazeera reports that a small group called the "Islamic law supporters" carried out the Benghazi attack directly in response to the film, Innocence of Muslims, which allegedly depicts Islam’s most holy figure having sex. He is also shown as a "fraud, a womanizer and a madman in an overtly ridiculing way, showing him having sex and calling for massacres," writes the Associated Press.
Sam Bacile, the producer of the film, was unapologetic for his role in inciting the anger. "The main problem is I am the first one to put on the screen someone who is [portraying] Muhammad. It makes them mad," he told CBS News. "But we have to open the door. After 9/11 everybody should be in front of the judge, even Jesus, even Muhammad."
The attacks were condemned by the Obama administration and also the Libyan government.
President Obama spoke out about the incident twice over the past 24 hours, condemning the attacks and promising to work with the Libyan government to bring the attackers to justice. “I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens ... 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,” he said Wednesday.
In Cairo, protesters took to the streets and descended upon the U.S. embassy, climbing the walls of the compound and replacing the U.S. flag with an Islamic banner. However, reports say embassy officials anticipated an attack and removed all personnel from the offices prior to the demonstration and no Americans died in the attack.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Mohammed Abu Zaid)