12 September, 2012, 13:05
The US ambassador to Libya was killed by local militia in an attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libyan Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif reported. US State Department neither confirmed nor denied the death of its ambassador.
J. Christopher Stevens and three other consulate employees were reportedly killed on Tuesday during clashes between armed militia members and army soldiers, as a mob stormed the compound.
The ambassador was allegedly seriously injured by attack on his car, and may have died from suffocation due to a fire, the BBC reported. He and other embassy employees were attacked after they went to the consulate to try to evacuate the building, the AP reported.
Eighteen other Americans were injured during the attack, Al-Sharif said.
US State Department neither confirmed nor denied the death of its ambassador.
The US diplomatic facility in eastern Libya was evacuated following violent clashes, and an enraged crowd of militia members stormed the building and set it on fire.
Tunisian Salafis are now calling for an attack on their country’s US embassy, Arab media reported.
The violence was part of a protest against an American amateur film “Innocence of Muslims” deemed offensive to the Prophet Muhammad. A similar incident took place in Cairo, Egypt’s capital.
The film was produced by a US-based group that includes Terry Jones, a Christian pastor involved in a Koran-burning scandal that triggered mass protests in Afghanistan. On the anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, he released a video promoting the film that portrays the Prophet in a “satirical” manner, according to Jones.
A vehicle and the surrounding area are engulfed in flames after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012.(AFP Photo / STR)
John Christopher Stevens was born in northern California in 1960.
He was first sent to Libya in June 2007 as deputy chief of the country’s US mission. He served as chargé d’affaires at the Tripoli embassy until 2009.
Stevens came to Libya for a second time in April 2011, arriving on a cargo ship. The US government sent him to rebel headquarters in Benghazi to serve as a special representative to the Libyan National Transitional Council.
In March 2012, Stevens was named America’s ambassador to Libya.
An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012.(AFP Photo / STR)
A vehicle sits smoldering in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012.(AFP Photo / STR)
John Christopher Stevens, US ambassador to Libya, shakes hands with Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil (R) after presenting his credentials during a meeting in Tripoli, June 7, 2012.(AFP Photo / Mahmud Turkia)