WASHINGTON – Following the murder of the American Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, US President Barack Obama vowed on Wednesday: "Make no mistake. We will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people."
Obama was flanked by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who also condemned the attacks, in a speech delivered shortly before Obama's statement she said: "I ask myself, how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?"
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Clinton added: "This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be."
Obama and Clinton; condemn attacks (Photo: AFP)
"But we must be clear-eyed even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya," she noted in a brief appearance.
Clinton said a free and stable Libya was in US interests and that ties between the two countries would not be a "casualty" of the attack.
US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack on Tuesday night that targeted his car in Benghazi, a Libyan official said on Wednesday.
"The American ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them," the official in Benghazi told Reuters. Asked about the deaths, a US Embassy employee in Tripoli said: "We have no information regarding this." The employee said the embassy could confirm the death of one person.
The Libyan official said the US ambassador had been on his way to a safer venue after protesters attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi and opened fire, killing a staff member, in protest at a US film that they deemed blasphemous to the Prophet Mohammad.
The official said the ambassador and three other staff were killed when gunmen fired rockets at his car.
He said the US Embassy had sent a military plane to transport the bodies to Tripoli to fly them to the United States.
Gunmen assaulted the Benghazi compound on Tuesday evening, clashing with Libyan security forces, who withdrew under heavy fire. The attackers fired at the buildings while others threw handmade bombs into the compound, setting off small explosions. Small fires were burning around the compound.
In a statement following the attack Obama strongly condemned the killing of the ambassador and three other embassy staff as an "outrageous attack" and ordered increased security at US diplomatic posts worldwide.
"I have directed my administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe," Obama said in a statement after the US diplomats were killed in a rocket attack on their car in Benghazi.
Fire at US embassy in Benghazi (Photo: Reuters)
"While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants," he said.
The assault followed a protest in neighboring Egypt where demonstrators scaled the walls of the US embassy, tore down the American flag and burned it during a protest over the same film which they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.
Reuters, AP contributed to the report
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