US ambassador to Libya, 3 other Americans killed in Benghazi
U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday strongly condemned the killing of the United States ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, in a rocket attack on the U.S. Consulate in the city of Benghazi on Tuesday, CNN is reporting.
Obama called the attack "outrageous," and confirmed that four Americans, including Stevens, were killed.
"Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States," Obama said.
Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in an attack since 1979.
Libya's Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib apologized "to the American people and the government, and also to the rest of the world" for the "cowardly criminal act."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton identified a second victim as Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer who was a ten-year veteran of the State Department, a husband and a father of two.
The two other victims have not been named.
An "angry crowd" marched on the consulate on Tuesday, furious about an online film considered offensive to Islam, Libya's Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif said Wednesday. The U.S. mission in Egypt was also attacked Tuesday in response to the film.
Al-Sharif said that consulate security staff opened fire when they heard gunfire outside the mission.
"This led to more anger and this is when the consulate was stormed," he said, suggesting that there were elements loyal to the regime of deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi aiming to create chaos among the protesters.
"Criminals managed to get in and they burned and ransacked the consulate," he said.