Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen has praised the killing of the U.S. ambassador in Libya and called for more attacks to expel American embassies from Muslim nations. The statement, posted on Islamic militant websites, suggested al-Qaeda was trying to co-opt the wave of angry protests in the Muslim world over a film produced in the United States denigrating the Prophet Mohammed. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said the killing this week of Ambassador Chris Stevens in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was "the best example" for those attacking embassies. It said protesters’ aim should be to "expel the embassies of America from the lands of the Muslims" and called on protests to continue in Muslim nations "to set the fires blazing at these embassies."
President Obama rejected any denigration of Islam but said there is no excuse for attacks on U.S. embassies, insisting he will never tolerate efforts to harm Americans. Meanwhile, Libya closed its air space over Benghazi airport temporarily because of heavy anti-aircraft fire by Islamists aiming at U.S. reconnaissance drones flying over the city, days after the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an attack. The closure of the airport prompted speculation that the United States was deploying special forces in preparation for an attack against the militants who were involved in the attack.
Under intense pressure from Washington, Egyptian security forces moved on to end the violent protests around the American Embassy in Cairo, arresting scores of protesters as political leaders struggled to deal with the fallout caused by the week of unrest.
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The Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack on a base which U.S. officials said killed two American Marines, saying it was in response to a film that insults the Prophet Mohammad.
At least seven people were killed as local police struggled to repel assaults after weekly Muslim prayers in Tunisia and Sudan, while there was new violence in Egypt and Yemen and across the Muslim world, driven by emotions ranging from piety to anger at Western power to frustrations with local leaders and poverty. At least two people were killed and 29 others were wounded on Friday when police fought hundreds of protesters who ransacked the U.S. embassy in Tunisia.
Robert Caruso is a veteran of the United States Navy, and has worked for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, Business Transformation Agency and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.