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ambassador to Libya and three embassy staff were killed in an attack on the Benghazi consulate and a safe house refuge, stormed by Islamist gunmen blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad. embassy in Cairo. diplomatic posts worldwide.

Violence also threatened to spread to other Muslim countries. embassy in Tunisia. interests robustly enough.

Romney issued a statement criticizing Obama initial response; the president campaign responded by accusing him of scoring political points at a time of national tragedy.

It was not immediately clear precisely how or where California born ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed during the assault. Stevens was a key player when the Obama administration supported the anti Gadhafi insurgency. consular staff were rushed to a safe house after the initial attack, Libya Deputy Interior Minister Wanis Al Sharif said. commando units then arrived from Tripoli to evacuate them from the house.

was supposed to be a secret place and we were surprised the armed groups knew about it. There was shooting, Sharif said. personnel were killed there, he said. Two other people were killed at the main consular building and between 12 and 17 wounded. diplomatic presence in Libya, relations between Washington and Tripoli and the unstable security situation after Gadhafi.

The amateurish film portrayed Mohammad as a fool, a philanderer and a religious fake. In one clip posted on YouTube, Mohammad was shown in an apparent sex act with a woman.

For many Muslims it is blasphemous to depict the Prophet. The incident had echoes of the publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons that touched off riots in the Middle East, Africa and Asia in 2006 in which at least 50 people died.

Images of ambassador Stevens purportedly taken after he was killed circulated on the Internet. One image showed him being carried, with a white shirt pulled up and a cut on his forehead.

Across the Muslim world, leaders will be concerned about preventing the spread of violence. Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the film in a statement, calling its making a act and saying he was certain those involved in its production represented a very small minority. diplomats.

Afghanistan shut down the YouTube site so Afghans would not be able to see the film. embassy in Kabul appealed to Afghan leaders for help calm Egypt, Prime Minister Hisham Kandil condemned violence while calling on Washington to act against the film makers.

ask the American government to take a firm position towards this film producers within the framework of international charters that criminalize acts that stir strife on the basis of race, colour or religion. AND SAVAGE GROUP Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the attack was the work of a and savage group of the consulate attack described chaos and bloodshed, with Libyan security over run and retreating.

started shooting at them, and then some other people also threw hand made bombs over the fences and started the fires in the buildings,
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said 17 year old Hamam, who took part in the assault and refused to give his last name.

was some Libyan security for the embassy outside but when the hand made bombs went off they ran off and left, said Hamam, who said he saw an American die in front of him in the mayhem that ensued. He said the body was covered in ash.

One Libyan security official blamed the attack on Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaida style Sunni Islamist group that has been active in Benghazi. Sharif, the deputy interior minister, said leaders of the group had denied responsibility: is no specific side to blame. said the mob included tribesmen, militia and other gunmen. Ansar al Sharia cars arrived at the start of the protest but left once fighting started, Hamam said. protesters were running around the compound just looking for Americans, they just wanted to find an American so they could catch one. Wednesday, the sprawling, leafy compound in Benghazi stood empty, with passers by freely walking in to take a look at the damage. The heat of the fires could still be felt.

Walls were charred and a small fire burned inside one of the buildings with glass from shattered chandeliers on the floor. A small group of men was trying to extinguish the flames and three security men briefly surveyed the scene.

Chairs, a table and food lay alongside empty bullet shells. Some blood stains could also be seen in front of one of the buildings. Three cars were burnt out.

UNPREPARED FOR INTENSE ATTACK

Libyan security forces came under heavy fire and we were not prepared for the intensity of the attack, said Abdel Monem Al Hurr, spokesman for Libya Supreme Security Committee.

Stevens grew up in California, graduated from Berkeley and worked in North Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. He taught English in Morocco before joining the foreign service where he worked in the Middle East and North Africa.
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