US Embassy staff killed in attack on Libyan US Consulate

Added by on September 12, 2012

US ambassador Chris Stevens along with three other staff members of the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya were killed Tuesday when protesters attacked over a YouTube film that reportedly mocks the Muslim prophet.

The Obama administration responded Wednesday morning saying, in part, “It’s especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi because it is a city that he helped to save. At the height of the Libyan revolution, Chris led our diplomatic post in Benghazi. With characteristic skill, courage, and resolve, he built partnerships with Libyan revolutionaries, and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya. When the Qaddafi regime came to an end, Chris was there to serve as our ambassador to the new Libya, and he worked tirelessly to support this young democracy, and I think both Secretary Clinton and I relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there. He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps.”

The attack occurred amid protests in Egypt about the film, called “Innocence of Muslims”, which is deemed offensive to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

The film was directed and produced by Sam Bacile, and Israeli-American California real-estate developer. Bacile has reportedly gone into hiding.

Ambassador Stevens reportedly died of asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation during the attack, along with three others. A doctor that treated Stevens in hospital after the attack confirmed his cause of death, citing that Stevens had no other apparent injuries, and that he had tried to revive Stevens for 90 minutes.

Wanis al-Sharif, the Libyan deputy interior minister, is said to have blamed loyalists of former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi for the attack – he stressed the US should have removed its personnel when awareness of the film’s release increased throughout the region.

The 14 minute trailer of the film was posted to YouTube in July, where it attracted little attention. The film was dubbed into Arabic and become widely known.

A mosque preacher said, of the possible motivation of the attack, “We sacrificed dozens and hundreds during the uprising for our dignity. The Prophet’s dignity is more important to us and we are ready to sacrifice millions.”

Among the dead is Sean Smith, an IT specialist, widely known in the online gaming community as Vile Rat. A friend of Smith’s guild in the game EVE online said Smith was a dedicated and positively influential public servant.

The names of the other two victims have not been released.