16:01 12 September 2012
The American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, has been killed following a rocket attack against the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi.
The ambassador and three other US officials were killed in what has been described as a protest by militiamen against a US-produced movie that insults the Prophet Muhammad.
The US embassy in Cairo was also attacked by protesters who cited the film, but no fatalities were documented.
The Benghazi attack, however, was deadly after unidentified armed men stormed the grounds of the embassy and opened fire at the buildings before throwing bombs inside.
A gunfight between the aggressors and security forces ensued but the modest security was overwhelmed by the scale of the attack. A Libyan official has said Ambassador Stevens died from suffocation as a result of the attack. "The Libyan ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them," the official in Benghazi told Reuters.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed the death of a US official, releasing a brief tribute to the press: "We are heartbroken by this terrible loss".
"Some have sought to justify this vicious behaviour as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.
"The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind."
Little has been confirmed about the film that apparently sparked the attack. However, the BBC cited that a 52-year-old US citizen from California named Sam Bacile produced it before it was promoted by an expatriate Egyptian Copt.
The Telegraph claims that the film is entitled 'The Innocence of Muslims' and serves as a satire which exposes the "hypocrisy" of Islamic views and portrays the Prophet as "a homosexual and advocate of paedophilia", and shows him having sex.
The attack took place on Tuesday night, which was the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
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