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International Law

US Ambassador to Libya, a Former Lawyer, Is Killed in Attack by Protesters

Posted Sep 12, 2012 5:46 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens has died in an attack by protesters reportedly angry over an anti-Muslim film.

Stevens was killed along with three other Americans, report the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), CNN, AFP and the Washington Post. CNN identified the three as security staffers. President Obama issued a statement confirming the deaths, the Wall Street Journal reports in a separate story. "I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi," he said.

Stevens graduated from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law in 1989 and was an international trade lawyer in Washington, D.C., before joining the Foreign Service in 1991, according to his State Department biography.

AFP says Stevens was killed after protesters fired rocket-propelled grenades at the consulate in Benghazi and set it on fire. Stevens was in Benghazi for the upcoming opening of an American cultural center, according to the Wall Street Journal report. Libya’s General National Congress expressed outrage at the attack.

The protesters were angry over a film produced in the United States called Innocence of Muslims, promoted by the Koran-burning Florida pastor Terry Jones, the Wall Street Journal and AFP say. The film depicts the prophet Mohammed having sex and calls him a fraud, the Post says.

Protesters also attacked the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt. The crowd dispersed after Egyptian police intervened, AFP says.

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