News24

Obama slams death of US officials in Libya

2012-09-12 14:59

Washington - US President Barack Obama on Wednesday condemned the killing of four Americans, including the US ambassador, in an attack on his country's consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi.

The US leader paid tribute to Ambassador Chris Stevens and his slain colleagues, who died when a mob of Libyan protesters, angered by reports of a film deemed insulting to Islam, stormed the US compound.

"I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens," Obama said, in a White House statement.

"Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers," he said.

"They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.

"I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe," he added.

Protests erupted in Egypt in Libya on Tuesday when Muslim groups learned of a film that had been privately produced in the United States and which set out to lampoon the Prophet Mohammed, the most sacred figure in Islam.

In Cairo, demonstrators stormed the embassy compound and tore down the US flag, replacing it with the black banner favoured by hardline Islamist groups.

In Benghazi, cradle of last year's revolt against former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the protest turned violent and the consulate was set ablaze.

"While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants," Obama said.