U.S., Libyan Officials Respond to Ambassador’s Death
The White House confirmed that four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens, have been killed at the American consulate during an assault in the eastern city of Benghazi Tuesday evening. The attack by came amid an angry response to a film titled “Innocence of Muslims” that attacks Islam and claims Prophet Mohammad as a fraud. The film was written and directed by Sam Bacile, an American real estate developer. In response President Barack Obama has ordered a tightening of security at U.S. diplomatic posts around the globe and has sent a fleet of Marines to Benghazi to aid in security.
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton expressed “profound sadness” over the killings, calling the attacks both “vicious and violent.” She went on to state that although “some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet … there is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.” In a statement released by the White House, President Obama strongly condemned what he called an “outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi.”
Libyan interim President Mohammed al-Megarif released a statement apologizing for the attacks and condemning them as “cowardly” and intended “to impede our democratic experiment.” Speaking to reporters, he vowed to bring the culprits to justice and maintain his country’s close relations with the United States. Although al-Megarif blamed “remnants of the Gaddafi regime” for the attacks, Al Jazeera’s El-Dressi reported that a group calling themselves the “Islamic law supporters” were responsible.
Mitt Romney, in a statement released late Tuesday evening before knowledge of Ambassador Stevens death had been confirmed, said he was “outraged by the attacks … and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attack, but to sympathize with those who waged [it].” Romney’s his campaign officials stood by the criticism Wednesday morning.