U.S. Ambassador And 3 Other Americans Dead After Attack On American Consulate In Libya
The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed after protesters angry over a film that ridiculed Islam’s Prophet Muhammad stormed the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi. “I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens,” President Barack Obama said Wednesday in a statement. “Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers.”
Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador killed during an assignment since Adolph Dubs was slain in an exchange of gunfire during a kidnapping attempt in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1979. Earlier, three Libyan officials told The Associated Press that Stevens was killed Tuesday night when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff. The protesters were firing gunshots and rocket-propelled grenades.
A large mob had stormed the U.S. consulate, with gunmen firing their weapons, said Wanis al-Sharef, an Interior Ministry official in Benghazi. A witness said attackers fired automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades at the consulate as they clashed with Libyans hired to guard the facility.
Stevens was typically based in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, but was apparently visiting Benghazi for the opening of an American cultural center there, The Wall Street Journal said. According to a biography posted on the State Department’s website, Stevens was a career Foreign Service officer. He had twice served in Libya — from 2007 to 2009 and in 2011 — before being named ambassador in May. Stevens, who was born and raised in northern California, had also held overseas posts in Israel, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Obama called Stevens “a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States.”
R.I.P. to those lost.