Obama vows all necessary steps to protect US citizens

Thu, Sep 13, 2012, 01:00

US president Barack Obama said today he had ordered his administration to do whatever is necessary to protect Americans abroad, as US diplomatic compounds in the Middle East faced continuing violent protests.

Mr Obama, speaking at a re-election campaign rally in Golden, Colorado, also said he and his aides had been in contact with other governments "to let them know they've got a responsibility to protect our citizens."

Mr Obama was speaking after the US ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats were killed after gunmen attacked the US consulate and a safe house refuge in Benghazi on Tuesday night.

The attackers were part of a mob blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Muhammad.

Demonstrators attacked the US embassies in Yemen and Egypt today in protest at the film they consider blasphemous to Islam, and American warships headed to Libya after the US ambassador there died in related violence earlier this week.

Hundreds of Yemenis broke through the main gate of the heavily fortified compound in the capital Sanaa, shouting "We sacrifice ourselves for you, Messenger of God". They smashed windows of security offices outside the embassy and burned cars.

"We can see a fire inside the compound and security forces are firing in the air. The demonstrators are fleeing and then charging back," one witness said.

A security source said at least 15 people were wounded, some by gunfire, before the Yemeni government ringed the area with troops.

An embassy spokesman said its personnel were safe.

In Egypt, protesters hurled stones at a police cordon around the US embassy in central Cairo after climbing into the embassy compound and tearing down the American flag.

The state news agency said 13 people were hurt in violence which erupted late last night, following initial protests on Tuesday.

During a similar protest on Tuesday at the US consulate in Benghazi, Libyan Islamists staged military-style assaults on the mission and a safe house refuge.

It was the 11th anniversary of al-Qaeda's attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001.

The US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died in the assaults, carried out with guns, mortars and grenades. Eight Libyans were injured.

Mr Obama vowed to "bring to justice" those responsible for the attack, which US officials said may have been planned in advance. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said Washington had nothing to do with the video, which she called "disgusting and reprehensible".

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