Hundreds of Yemeni demonstrators angered over a film mocking Islam have stormed the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, continuing a wave of anti-American protests sweeping the region.
The mob torched a number of diplomatic vehicles Thursday as security guards used water cannons and warning shots in a bid to drive them out of the heavily fortified compound. A number of people were reportedly injured.
The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three of his staff were killed Tuesday after suspected Islamist militants stormed the American consulate in Benghazi, during similar demonstations.
Meanwhile, protests continued outside the U.S. Embassy in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, Thursday as police used tear gas against a crowd of about 200 youth. The violence was directed against an obscure American-made amateur film mocking the Prophet Muhammad.
Video footage of protest
Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, on an official visit to Brussels Thursday, slammed "attacks" on the Muslim prophet in the film, while also condemning the violence.
"We Egyptians reject any kind of assault or insult against our prophet. I condemn and oppose all who... insult our prophet," said Morsi.
"[But] it is our duty to protect our guests and visitors from abroad. I call on everyone to take that into consideration, not to violate Egyptian law, not to assault embassies," he added.
US, Libya cooperation
U.S. President Barack Obama and the president of Libya's National Assembly, Mohamed Magarief, agreed Wednesday to cooperate closely in investigating the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The Libyan leader has apologized to the United States for the assault.
Washington sent two Navy destroyers, a Marine Corps anti-terrorist security team and federal investigators to Libya to protect Americans and help hunt the suspected religious extremists who carried out the attack late Tuesday.
The Obama administration also ordered the evacuation of all U.S. personnel from Benghazi to the capital, Tripoli.
American officials said Wednesday the attack on the Benghazi compound and a nearby safe house may have been a planned, coordinated and complex operation, in contrast to the initial Cairo protest, which appeared to be spontaneous. They say armed militants in Libya may have used the Cairo events as cover.
But, the officials say it is too early to identify those who killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three colleagues or whether the assault was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
American intelligence agencies are examining the alleged involvement of pro-al Qaida Ansar al-Sharia militants, but cautioned they do not have solid evidence. On Wednesday, a brigade from the group denied planning the assault.
US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens
- Served as U.S. ambassador to Libya since May
- Held two earlier postings in Libya
- Previous assignments in Israel, Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia
- Worked as an international trade lawyer before joining the Foreign Service in 1991
- Taught English in Morocco as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1983 to 1985
The ambassador was widely admired by Libyan rebels for his support of their uprising that overthrew longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi last year. U.S, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Stevens risked his life to lend the Libyan people a helping hand to build the "foundation for a new, free nation."
President Obama Wednesday condemned the killing of the four Americans as "outrageous and shocking." He also said the United States rejects all efforts to "denigrate the religious beliefs of others," a reference to the controversial film.
A trailer for the anti-Islamic video was posted on YouTube in July. An Arabic-language translation began circulating in the Middle East in recent days. Clips from the movie depict the Prophet Muhammad as a villainous, homosexual child-molesting buffoon, among other overtly insulting claims.
Photo Gallery: Anti-US Protests in Libya, Egypt