Ignoring warning shots, Islamist protesters apparently incensed over an American film that ridiculed Prophet Muhammad stormed the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Thursday and set fire to vehicles parked in its compound.
Reports said Police shot in the air and used force to drive away the protesters from the Embassy compound, in which several people were reported to have been injured. They used tear gas, water cannon and live fire to clear the compound of irate protesters.
Protests in Cairo continued for the second day on Thursday after they breached the walls of the U.S. Embassy in the Egyptian capital and tore down the American flag on Wednesday. Protesters were still gathering outside the Embassy building denouncing the film and shouting anti-U.S. slogans despite appeal by President Mohammed Mursi for calm, though Egyptians "reject any kind of assault or insult" against Prophet Muhammad."
"I condemn and oppose all who... insult our Prophet. [But] it is our duty to protect our guests and visitors from abroad," he said in a statement broadcast by state media. "I call on everyone to take that into consideration, to not violate Egyptian law... to not assault Embassies."
U.S. envoy to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other American officials were killed when the U.S. Consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi was invaded by heavily-armed militiamen on Tuesday night, drawing world-wide condemnation.
Earlier on Thursday, U.S. officials said they were investigating whether the attack on the Consulate was pre-planned as it happened on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror strikes on New York and Washington in 2001.
Some reports suggested that The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched a probe into the possible involvement of global terror network, such as al-Qaeda, in Tuesday's attack on the U.S. mission in Libya.
Citing a senior U.S. official, the reports said an armed group started shooting at the Consulate at around 10:00 p.m. (local time) on Tuesday. The building went up in flames, and the attack continued for more than four hours.
The official added that all U.S. nationals in Benghazi have been evacuated to Libyan capital Tripoli on a chartered aircraft. The U.S. plans to send the Marine Corps' anti-terrorist unit in Europe to Tripoli to strengthen security at the U.S. Embassy there.
Security has been beefed up at U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world in response to rising tensions, while President Barack Obama vowed to work with the Libyan authorities to bring those behind the Benghazi Consular attack.
There were also reports that two destroyers of the U.S. Navy were steaming into the Mediterranean, carrying Marines to Libya to join the hunt for killers of the American Ambassador and three other diplomats.
The State Department has asked U.S. citizens in Libya to leave the country, following the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi. It also ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Libya as it feared escalation of violence in Benghazi, Tripoli and elsewhere.
U.S. Embassies mainly in the Middle East and Africa are putting up travel warnings on their websites, asking U.S. citizens not to visit popular public places.
by RTT Staff Writer
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