x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

US ambassador to Libya and three embassy staff killed in rocket attack

The US ambassador and his staff had been travelling to a safer venue after protesters attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi over a US film they deemed blasphemous to the Prophet Mohammed.

The US Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group.
The US Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group.

BEIRUT // The US ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack last night that targeted his car in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

"The American ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them," A Libyan official in Benghazi told Reuters. Asked about the deaths, a US Embassy employee in Tripoli said: "We have no information regarding this." The employee said the embassy could confirm the death of one person.

The Libyan official said the US ambassador, named by AFP as Christopher Stevens, had been on his way to a safer venue after protesters attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi and opened fire, killing a staff member, over a US film that they deemed blasphemous to the Prophet Mohammed.

The official said the ambassador and three other staff were killed when gunmen fired rockets at his car. He said the US Embassy had sent a military plane to transport the bodies to Tripoli to fly them to the United States.

Gunmen assaulted the Benghazi compound last night, clashing with Libyan security forces, who withdrew under heavy fire. The attackers fired at the buildings while others threw handmade bombs into the compound, setting off small explosions. Small fires were burning around the compound.

The assault followed a protest in Egypt where demonstrators scaled the walls of the US embassy, tore down the American flag and burned it during a protest over the same film which they said insulted the Prophet Mohammed.