The Yemen-based branch of al-Qaeda urged Muslims to step up protests and kill more US diplomats in Muslim countries in retribution over "Muslim Innocence," a US-produced film mocking the Prophet Mohammad. Al-Qaeda described the film as "another chapter in the crusader wars" against Islam.
"Whoever comes across America's ambassadors or emissaries should follow the example of Omar al-Mukhtar's descendants, who killed the American ambassador," the group said, referring to Tuesday's attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which claimed the lives of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other members of the US mission.
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"Let the step of kicking out the embassies be a step towards liberating Muslim countries from the American hegemony," a statement posted on the group's website on Saturday said.
"The incident is so huge that the resources of the nation should be pooled together to kick out the embassies of America from Muslim lands," it said.
Also on Saturday, hundreds of Muslims protested against "Muslim Innocence," in central Sydney, Australian media reported.
According to ABC Australia, crowds gathered outside the United States Consulate in New South Wales, and spread from there, through the city's streets to Hyde Park.
According to the report, the protest's organizers fanned the flames by sending a mass text message saying: "We must defend the honor of our prophet, we must act now."
The group was made up of Muslim men, women and children of all ages.
Riot in Sydney (Photo: Reuters)
Some of the protesters were carrying banners reading "Behead those who insult the Prophet," and shouting "Down, down USA," and "Our dead are in paradise. Your dead are in hell."
Sydney police tried to form a line in front of the demonstrators and use used pepper spray on protesters, who were throwing objects and bottles of water at the officers.
Sydney's Ambulance Service said paramedics treated at least one person with head injuries.
"We are sick and tired of everyone mocking our beloved Prophet," protester Houda Dib said. "They have no right to mock our Prophet. We don't go around mocking anyone's religion."
One speaker called for calm, saying the aim of their protest had been to send a message.
"We are here for the sake of our God," he said. "The message is clear, you cannot mock (the Prophet)."
Anti-US protest in Iran (Photo: AFP)
Meanwhile, hundreds of people belonging to the Islamic Movement in Israel rallied in Nazareth and Qalansawe.
Protesters shouted "We will sacrifice our souls for Mohammad," and called to punish anyone who attempts to offend the prophet.
Saturday's protests followed a furious wave of anti-American violence across the Middle East and North Africa.
A crowd invaded the US embassy compound in Tunisia, and guards at the US embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, fired warning shots at protesters.
At least six protesters died on Friday alone, and Washington deployed US Marines to protect its embassies in Libya and Yemen.
'Surge of anti-US violence disturbing'
President Barack Obama on Saturday rejected any denigration of Islam but said there is no excuse for attacks on US embassies, insisting he will never tolerate efforts to harm Americans.
Anti-US protest in Indonesia (Photo: AFP)
"I have made it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths," Obama said in his weekly radio address. "Yet there is never any justification for violence… There is no excuse for attacks on our embassies and consulates."
Obama acknowledged that a surge of anti-American violence in the Middle East is disturbing.
The Pentagon is sending Marines to beef up security at the U.S. embassy in Sudan, following similar reinforcements to Libya and Yemen.
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was quoted Saturday as confirming that the United States is positioning military forces so that it can respond to unrest in as many as 17 or 18 places that the Pentagon is "paying particular attention to."
The Pentagon had ordered two warships to the Libyan coast in the aftermath of Tuesday's attack in Benghazi.
Reuters and AFP contributed to this report
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