U.S. Ambassador killed in Libya
American ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and 3 members of his staff were killed.
BY STEPHANIE COSBY, Staff Writer
American ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three members of his staff were killed in an attack on the United States compound in Benghazi, Libya last Tuesday night, Sept. 11.
The attack was led by a heavily-armored group and seems to have been motivated by anger over an American-made web video that “depicted Prophet Muhammad… as a villainous, homosexual and child-molesting buffoon,” according to the New York Times.
Around 10pm Tuesday evening, the group fired a rocket propelled grenade at the gate of the mission’s lightly armored building, and gained entrance shortly after. American and Libyan officials report that Stevens went missing shortly after the attack began. While it remains unclear, the New York Times says that it seems Stevens was attacked en route to a safe house. He was found dead in a Benghazi hospital early the next morning.
This attack occurred shortly after a mob of relatively peaceful protesters gathered around the American Embassy in Cairo to protest the same video. In an effort to prevent violence, the Embassy released a statement condemning the web film.
In the aftermath, President Obama has condemned the attacks, promised justice and lamented the loss of Stevens. He has ordered tighter security at all United States diplomatic missions, sent 50 Marines to Tripoli, the Libyan capital, to help with security at the American Embassy, and has ordered all non-emergency personnel to leave Libya.
President of the newly elected Libyan National Congress Yussef Magriaf offered an apology for the attacks and also pledged that there would be justice. Since then, the Libyan government has gathered suspects and the Egyptian government has cracked down on protesters. Elsewhere in the region, the New York Times reports that leaders in Saudi Arabia and Tunisia have called for calm.
Stevens was the first American ambassador to be killed in a violent assault since 1979. He was stationed in Tripoli and had been visiting Benghazi for the opening of an American cultural center. Fluent in Arabic and French, Stevens was well-liked and well-known by residents of both Tripoli and Benghazi.