Anti-Islam film suspect questioned
A California man convicted of bank fraud has been escorted to an interview with federal officers probing possible probation violations stemming from the making of a film denigrating Islam, police said today.
Protests against the film eased in the Middle East after mobs stormed the American Embassy compound in Tunisia and targeted diplomatic missions in Sudan and Yemen.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman said the man suspected of involvement in the making of the film is being questioned by probation officers
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula voluntarily left his home, accompanied by sheriff's deputies, to meet with the officers in the Cerritos sheriff's station, a spokesman said.
But he said Nakoula was not in custody. "He will be interviewed by federal probation officers," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said. "He was never put in handcuffs... It was all voluntary."
Clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square stopped today after Egypt's main Islamist groups called for calm. Police secured the square and arrested 220 people, the country's interior ministry said in a statement.
In Tunis, where smoke billowed from the US embassy yesterday, a high security presence deterred protesters from taking to the streets. The days of turmoil across the Arab and Muslim world put new Arab Spring leaders in nations such as Tunisia and Egypt on the defensive as Islamists showed their power to exploit popular discontent.
The Yemen-based branch of al Qaeda urged Muslims to step up protests and kill US diplomats in Muslim countries over the film which it said was another chapter in the "crusader wars"
"Whoever comes across America's ambassadors or emissaries should follow the example of Omar al-Mukhtar's descendants (Libyans), who killed the American ambassador," Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said.
"Let the step of kicking out the embassies be a step towards liberating Muslim countries from the American hegemony," it said in a statement posted on a website.
The violence also kept US president Barack Obama under pressure over his support for the Arab revolutions and over questions about whether his administration was caught unprepared for the threats to US personnel and property.
The bodies of the four Americans killed in a Sept. 11 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, were returned to the US yesterday in a solemn ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington.
Mr Obama and secretary of state Hillary Clinton paid tribute to the dead Americans, including ambassador Christopher Stevens, who played a pivotal role in helping Libyan rebels topple the Gadafy dictatorship.
In Cairo, where calls for a mass rally yesterday had raised concerns that violence would escalate in the Arab world's most populous nation, more than 1,000 people - including members of president Mohamed Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood - headed toward the US embassy after Friday prayers, seeking to calm the situation.
They chanted slogans urging an end to four days of fighting between demonstrators and police. "We will get justice for the prophet, but without blood," Mazhar Shahine, a prominent cleric, told the crowd, referring to the film that sparked the protests.
Protesters skirmished into the night with police, and Al Jazeera reported two died.
Armed militants yesterday attacked the headquarters of the Multinational Force and Observers in northern Sinai near the border of Gaza and Israel, wounding three peacekeepers, according to Mohamed Saeed, the head of criminal investigations in north Sinai.
The death toll from yesterday's attack on the US embassy in Tunis rose to four today, with 46 people injured, a hospital official said.