September 13th, 2012
02:47 PM ET

Libyan official: Suspect in consulate attack arrested

Editor's note: Several protests stemming at least in part from an anti-Islam film produced in the United States are unfolding outside U.S. embassies around the world. Thursday's protests follow ones in Cairo and Benghazi and an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya on Tuesday night that killed the U.S. ambassador and three others. Follow along with the live blog below for all of the developments around the world.

[Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET] Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, said the U.S. government should bring to justice those behind the anti-Islam film.

Khameini on Thursday called the making of the film a "criminal act," according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency. His comments came the same day university students protested outside the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, blaming the United States and Israel for the American-made film. The Swiss Embassy represents U.S. interests in Iran.

[Updated at 3:59 p.m. ET] At least one person has been arrested in the killings of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, Libya's prime minister said Thursday.

One person was arrested early Thursday in Benghazi, Mustafa Abushagur said on CNNI's "Amanpour." "Three or four are currently being pursued," he said.

Earlier, the Libyan state-run news agency LANA said more than one person had been arrested. It cited the deputy minister of interior in the eastern region, Wanees al-Sharif, as its source.

The announcement came as the United States is struggling to determine whether a militant group planned the attack that killed the four Americans, even as warships head toward the north African country as part of a mission to hunt down and punish the killers.

[Updated at 3:11 p.m. ET] Four people were killed Thursday during protests near the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, according to two Yemeni security officials. They reported 11 injuries among protesters.

[Updated at 2:47 p.m. ET] Some individuals believed to be involved in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi have been arrested, the Libyan Deputy Minister of Interior said in a statement to the country's state-run news agency.

"Some individuals suspected of involvement in the attack on the American Embassy in the city of Benghazi that resulted in the killing of the American Ambassador and three of his companions have been arrested," Wanis Al-Sharif said.

Al-Sharif added in that statement that "the investigation is on-going and will reveal either whether those individuals are involved or innocent."

[Updated at 2:28 p.m. ET] Arrests have been made in connection with Tuesday's attack that killed four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libyan Deputy Interior Minister Wanis Sharif said, according to Reuters.

"Some people have been arrested and are under investigation," Reuters quoted Sharif as saying.

[Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET]  A day after attackers killed four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, President Obama said the administration has let other governments know they have an "obligation to cooperate with us to protect our citizens." He spoke at a campaign rally in Golden, Colorado.

[Updated at 12:32 p.m. ET] The Egyptian Health Ministry says 224 people were injured in protests in Cairo on Thursday, according to Egyptian State Television station Nile TV.

Earlier in Cairo, demonstrators threw rocks and Molotov cocktails as police tried to disperse them by firing tear gas canisters from police vehicles as they drove through Tahrir Square, near the embassy.

The clashes came amid heightened tensions at U.S. diplomatic missions in the region following Tuesday's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other consular officials dead.

[Updated at 12:23 p.m. ET] A U.S. intelligence official tells CNN the picture is becoming clearer within the intelligence community as to what group or groups were responsible for the attack.

Given what officials know about al Qaeda in Libya, U.S. intelligence believes it is very unlikely that this was core al Qaeda behind the attack. Officials are not yet ready to identify a group.

[Updated at 12:14 p.m. ET] Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, issued the following statement condemning the attack on the U.S. embassy in Yemen earlier Thursday:

‚ÄúI condemn in the strongest terms the breaching of the perimeter of the US Embassy in Sanaa by protesters and express our full solidarity with the U.S. authorities," she said. "I am closely following developments in Northern Africa and the Middle East with great concern. We have urged the Yemeni authorities to reinforce security of EU missions in Sanaa and to take the¬†necessary measures to protect diplomats.‚ÄĚ

[Updated at 11:33 a.m. ET] Protesters in the capital of Yemen are decreasing and the the crowd is diffusing, journalist Hakim Almasmari told CNN.

Almasmari spoke to CNN from the capital, Sanaa, where there had been alarge number of protesters demonstrated outside the embassy. About six demonstrators reaching the main gate and attempting to break windows of the security room, witnesses said earlier Thursday. Protestors burned tires outside the embassy, while Yemeni security forces attempted to disperse the crowd of several thousand with batons.

[Updated at 11:18 a.m. ET] Saudi Arabia's official news agency has published a statement by an official source within the country "denouncing the violent reactions that took place in a number of countries against American interests."

The statement by the official goes on to offer "condolences and sympathy to the United States for the victims who fell due to the violent acts in Libya that targeted the American Embassy in Benghazi."

Saudi Arabia also "denounces the irresponsible group in the United States for producing a film that insults the Prophet Mohammed, Peace be upon Him, and assures that it rejects all actions that harm religions and their symbols."

[Updated at 11:17 a.m. ET] A member of the production staff who worked on an anti-Islam film that has sparked widespread protests has told CNN that the producer's name was listed as Abenob Nakoula Basseley on paperwork filed with the Screen Actors Guild.

In previous media interviews, the filmmaker had identified himself as Sam Bacile and said he was a 52-year-old Israeli-American real estate developer from California. The staffer, who did not want to be identified for security reasons, said he believed the filmmaker was a Coptic Christian.

[Updated at 10:50 a.m. ET] Glen Doherty, a Massachusetts native was as among those killed in Libya attack, a family spokesman told CNN.

A spokesperson who did not wish to be identified acknowledged Dohertyhad passed in Libya.   The woman noted family had gathered the home and were not speaking further with the media at this time.

[Updated at 10:40 a.m. ET] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday there should be no debate that violence in response to speech is not acceptable, saying leaders in government, civil society and religion "must draw the line at violence."

She added, "Any responsible leader should be standing up now and drawing that line."

[Updated at 10:32 a.m. ET] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated Thursday that "there is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence." She was referring to a video, which has sparked protests in several countries, that depicts the prophet Mohammed as a child molester, womanizer and ruthless killer.

[Updated at 10:26 a.m. ET] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the government rejects "the content and message" of the anti-Islam video that stirred outrage across the Muslim world.

"Let me state very clearly, and I hope it is obvious, that the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video," she said.

Clinton added that the video is "disgusting and reprehensible."

[Updated at 9:47 a.m. ET] Several hundred demonstrators engaged Egyptian police in intense clashes for hours Thursday just 300 yards from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, journalist Ian Lee reports.

The¬†protesters¬†have become enraged over an offensive anti-Muslim film, threw rocks and Molotov cocktails as police tried to disperse them by firing tear gas canisters. The protests chanted ‚ÄúWith our souls, with our blood, we will sacrifice for you Prophet Mohammed.‚ÄĚ

A CNN team on the ground witnessed at least 5 injured Egyptian policeman and several injured demonstrators being dragged from the scene by friends.

[Updated at 9:09 a.m. ET] Three protesters were injured - one critically - when police fired on a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni captal of Sanaa, protesters and eyewitnesses said Thursday. Anti-American sentiment has been rising in the region over the online release of a film trailer produced in the United States that denigrates Prophet Mohammed.

[Updated at 8:00 a.m. ET] More than 200 Palestinians angered by the anti-Islam film stirring outrage across the Muslim world staged a demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday.

The group shouted slogans against Israel and the US. An Israeli flag held during the demonstration with a BIG X across it and with blood stains on it. Some held a  banner reading "We are all your protectors prophet Mohammed."

[Updated at 7:45 a.m. ET] The president of Yemen Mansour Hadi has issued a statement apologizing to President Barack Obama and the U.S. for the "attack" that took place outside the U.S. embassy in Sanaa.

"President Hadi ordered the authorities to conduct an expeditious and thorough investigation into today’s events," he said.

Hadi said that the "perpetrators of these acts will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law." The president said the protesters were a "rowdy group," one that "acted without any knowledge on conspiracies to derail Yemeni-American relations."

Hadi noted divisions that are occurring among "Yemen’s security and military forces due to the 2011 events have contributed to the amplification of the incident." He warned members of the Yemeni residents that attacking the main gate of the embassy and breaking windows are acts that "will reflect negatively on the warm relations between Yemen and the American public."

[Updated at 7:34 a.m. ET] A senior Obama administration official made the following comment to CNN that with regard to the situation in Yemen:

"We are doing everything we can to support our mission in Yemen," the official said. "We've had good cooperation from the Yemeni government which is working with us to maintain order and protect our facilities and people. These protests appear to be motivated by the film."

 A large number of protesters demonstrated outside the embassy in Sanaa, with about six demonstrators reaching the main gate and attempting to break windows of the security room, witnesses said earlier Thursday. Protestors burned tires outside the embassy, while Yemeni security forces attempted to disperse the crowd of several thousand with batons.

[Updated at 7:25 a.m. ET] An employee at the U.S. consulate in Berlin has fallen ill after receiving and opening visa documents, according to police in Berlin, Germany.

Berlin police spokesman Thomas Merkle say that a man handed his documents including his passport to the employee, she then complained of dizziness and breathing problems. A white substance was found in the area, but it is unclear whether it is linked to the incident.

The female employee and two other consulate employees were brought to a hospital for treatment and evaluation. Berlin Police and Fire Department are at the scene, including a decontamination unit. The substance is being checked and the man who handed over his documents is still in the consulate and being questioned.

[Updated  at 6:22 a.m. ET] University students have gathered in front of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran Thursday to protest against the recent anti-Islam film made in the U.S., Iran's semi-official news agency, Fars, said.

The Swiss Embassy represents U.S. interests in Tehran. A five-layer security line has been set up by the police to protect the Embassy grounds and Swiss diplomats, Fars said.

[Posted at 5:37 a.m. ET] Riot police fired warning shots and tear gas early Thursday outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to keep hundreds of protestors, while demonstrators in the Yemeni capital city of Sana'a attempted to storm the American mission, witnesses said.

The protests are the latest to roil the Middle East over the online release of a film produced in the United States that denigrates Prophet Mohammed.

Who is Sam Bacile? Questions swirl around identity of filmmaker

 A large number of protesters demonstrated outside the embassy in Sana'a, with about six demonstrators reaching the main gate and attempting to break windows of the security room, witnesses said.

Protestors burned tires outside the embassy, while Yemeni security forces attempted to disperse the crowd of several thousand with batons.

"Given recent regional developments, earlier this morning, angry protestors unfortunately flooded the security perimeter of the U.S. embassy in Sana'a, Yemen and breached the embassy's wall," according to a statement released by Yemen through its embassy in Washington.

"Security services have quickly restored order to the embassy's complex. Fortunately no casualties were reported from this chaotic incident. "

Hours earlier in Cairo, six police officers suffered minor injuries during the clashes, said Alla Mahmoud, a spokesman for the Egyptian Interior Ministry. Some protesters received medical treatment inside ambulances.

Demonstrators threw rocks and Molotov cocktails as police tried to disperse them by firing tear gas canisters from police vehicles as they drove through Tahrir Square, near the embassy.

The clashes came amid heightened tensions at U.S. diplomatic missions in the region following Tuesday's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other consular officials dead.

Inside the attack in Benghazi

On Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, several men scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and tore down its U.S. flag.

About 500 protesters turned out Wednesday in Cairo to demonstrate against a film that mocks Islam's prophet.

Wednesday night's protest turned violent as demonstrators threw rocks and pushed through barbed wire fencing outside the embassy, according to Mahmoud. Two police trucks and a car were set afire.

"Forces were able to push them down toward Tahrir Square farther from embassy street," Mahmoud said, adding that some arrests had been made.

CNN's Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Ian Lee in Cairo, Jomana Karadsheh, Matt Smith, Brian Walker, Elise Labott, Paul Cruickshank and Tracy Doueiry contributed to this report

soundoff (550 Responses)
  1. Mark L.

    No surprise here – the USA should have kept their big fat nose out of the Middle Eastern region to begin with. The USA needs to STOP being the so-called "Police" of the World !! You cannot expect Islamic nations such as Iraq, Libya, Yemen to reform and become a democracy like Western civilizations !! It just doesn't work that way. Also, we had absolutely NO BUSINESS in Iraq whatsoever. Saddam Hussein had NO WMD's and was not aligned to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Iraq was actually safer under Saddam Hussein's brutal regime than they are today. (Thank You former President George W. Bush and "Tricky" Dickie Cheney !!) And as for Afghanistan, we already captured and killed Osama Bin Laden; so what the heck are we still doing there??

    September 13, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • bigbiz

      You are correct sir..This unravelling of secular quasi prowestern countrieslong ago.When Pro western China went communist after the west liberated them that was the start of the spiral....In the good old days when the West put its own citizens and businesses first we supported and helped to put into place leaders that would serve those interests.NOW the West and in particular the US puts its own interests ,taxpayer money and LIVES at risk so as to allow anti western and particular anti american regimes to flourish...go figure!!!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary1972

      I agree totally. If we had not gone to war with Iraq, we could have helped so much poor, helped build schools and roads and much more.

      September 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob Pasler

    Why don't you say that the suspect in Berlin is an Albanian? Last time our soldiers were killed in Germany was also by Kosovo Albanian. The same people we helped our hating us. Wake up everybody!

    September 13, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Obama's on the Clock Now

    Ok, Mr. President. Time's up. No more "It's Bush's fault". Time to stand as the head of your own administration in a time of foreign policy crisis. no more scapegoating on the "boogie man" who was your predecessor. Good luck.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • mkat2

      He DID respond. He APOLOGIZED again this morning! You know......the 'Apologizer In Chief'!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • martin

      hmm, what do you want him to do, occupy libya, yemen, syria and iran? the job of the pres is to let these jackbags blow off steam, find and prosecute the perps, protect our embassies and continue to facilitate the struggle for democracy in these countries.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Where's the Leadership, Mr. President?

      Well let's see. so far he's totally blown the secure the embasies and other facilities of interest part...

      Which other failures of leadership are you waiting on?

      September 13, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Two ships on their way? That's so OBama will look good at next election. We should close ALL our borders, let them blow each other up if they want.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      Obama's foreign policy campaign has been far more effective and successful than that old country boy from Crawford,Texas ever thought of having.Why don't you quit living in the past yourself?

      September 13, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • ChcgoRealst

      All of the Obama apologists throwing their hands in the air screaming, "What else is he supposed to do?" I don't know what is worse, the lack of leadership in the White House, or the weak souled people who support them.

      Say all you want about GWB, at least he lead. You may not have agreed with him, but he lead in a manner that even the most hateful liberal today stood by his side in the many times of need our country went through during 911, the horrendous natural disasters it endured, and the war on terror.

      When you are weak, the enemy sees it and attacks. They know our leadership is weak, and they are proving it everyday. Just wait until Obama gets re-elected (which he most likely will). I hope his supporters get every bit of what they ask for just so they can see what we lost to give it to them.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. Movie Goer

    This is how they reacted to a dumb movie, imagine when the aliens come down and prove to them and all of us that religions are lies...can't wait!

    September 13, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob Pasler

      Likely they study only one book so we don't have to be afraid about "technological progress". However, imagine only what they would do to all of us today if they only could?

      September 13, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • ChcgoRealst

      Your version of religion is Science Fiction. Everyone believes in some form of religion even if their religion is believing there is no religion. Just like myself, you are no more informed than the next guy.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cliff

    The people of islam need to understand they DO NOT DICTATE what the rest of the world can and cannot do. There imams, clerics or what have you need to explain, that in a free society, people can say and do what they want. These actions are ridiculous at best. Is anyone going over there into their countries and doing this, NO. These films, cartoons and such are from individuals, in their own countries, and not being made by the governments, what part of that don’t they understand. Furthermore maybe we should start protesting because I sure find it offensive to my sensibilities seeing them destroy my flag, our embassy, killing our people or dancing and celebrating on the street after some whack jobs fly planes into our buildings. (I remember the celebrations being held on the streets of islamic countries when 9/11 happened.)

    September 13, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • SuziSaul

      I don't understand why we're not seeing any protests in front of the US middle east embassies in DC.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      Cliff... Brilliantly stated... though I might add that the individual/s who made that movie took there freedom of speech to a place totally outside of what's considered American. We do not degenerate other people's faith or beliefs, yet I hardly see them receiving any backlash with regards to their actions... but let someone degenerate Blacks, Jews, or gays anywhere in the world and the backlash is sure. I agree with you totally that the response to an individual exercising their rights, was and continues to be repulsive. Yet I must add... this is not our first pony ride down this stretch of terrain. Those individuals who produced that film knew how Muslims would respond to their characterizations of Muhammad, as well as their depiction of the Islamic faith. They must be held accountable as well. At a time when we are trying to develop democracy in the middle east, which make no mistake about it, is important to our national interest, we do not need that effort impeded or undermined by individuals seeking vein attention. This is going to cost us, the tax payer in America a bunch of money at the end of the day, and it further creates hatred of Americans and danger to Americans around the world. The movie's writer/s and producer/s need to be held accountable... not by law because that's not possible... but by us... the tax payer. They need to be brought to the forefront to receive our, which includes our media's freedom of speech. As it stands they're receiving a ton of publicity and from what I've seen very little backlash; yet, most clear thinking Americans would agree... they should not profit from this careless act.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. Desi

    I understand that there has to be some thing discriminating against Islam in the stupid internet movie no one know about, but does Islam teach its followers to react this way for the mistake? Don't they realize that they are destroying their own homes and countries?

    September 13, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      They don't care. That's all they have ever known. Warring. I still say we should close all our borders and let them fight among each other all they want. Forget about giving them their 'democracy'; they do not want it! Heck, sometimes I don't even like it - case in point our legal system. Ridiculous! Our 'right to freedom of speech' also has its holes. Anyone can object to the Ten Commandments and presto! it is removed from a public place. We need to wake up and see what's wrong with this picture or as the old saying goes: we are going to hell in a hand basket.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jim

    Scaling embassy walls, assassinating ambassadors and support staff, burning buildings..sounds like a declaration of war to me. The Libyan and Egyptian governments were either unable or unwilling to protect U.S. embassies and consolates, and for that should be held accountable.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Obama's on the Clock Now

    I'm sure to the American "left", this is all Bush's fault as usual...

    September 13, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      No, Bush's fault is Barbara's!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  9. SuziSaul

    Isn't it Romney who's campaigning to destroy the evil iranian leaders because the people of Iran are asking us to help them? Another lie, obviously.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      So what are the chances that OBama will continue to throw billions of dollars at them? Pretty good, I would say. And he will continue to apologize to them of course. What was it about that muslim brotherhood in Chicago???

      September 13, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Mop


      So what are the chances that OBama will continue to throw billions of dollars at them?

      Obama has throne billions of dollars at Iran ?
      Wow, i must have misssed that little gem in the news.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Vote Green Party

    The Bush-Obama foreign policy of bringing democracy to the Middle East is blowing up in our faces.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. Where's the Leadership, Mr. President?

    And so begins the greatest foreign policy crisis of this Administration...
    I hope you're up for it, Mr. President.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • mkat2

      and, pigs can fly....! He's doing his best, apologizing over & over! Guess his Middle East plan of; "Make Nice" isn't too effective!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Its not a crisis, its a tragedy!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Where's the Leadership, Mr. President?

      The tragedy are the deaths. the crisis is the failure of leadership. Wake up.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      He's always been up to it.Where have you been,blind guy?

      September 13, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Obama is apologizin' agin. Nobody heard or seen it but we know it done happened. The mooslims done seen our weakness and they attacked. Why – the're in my backyard right now botherin' ma chickens. We need to kill 'em all. That's what a good president does – kill people I don't like.
      The republicans and muslim exremists seem to agree on a lot of things and both of these nut groups only see what they want to see and deny reality if they don't like it. Thank God for Nascar and Beer.

      September 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. more2bits

    You don't eradicate a cancer by placating it.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Fearless Freep


      You don't eradicate a cancer by placating it.

      You must be a Republican.
      Human beings are cancer.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The Chosen One

    Religion ruined this planet

    September 13, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    No Sir, I'm not writing off millions in the Muslim world because of this tragedy. I sympathize with the millions of Muslims around the world who just want to live in peace. What I was saying is that as long as those in charge in the Muslim world, those in their government don't change their ways of leading and fail to try to bridge the gap of divide between both worlds, peace will never materialize. The issue here is not the Muslim/Islamic people but their governments that continue to fail to educate the people and bridge the gap of divide. That is all I was saying.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • fiftyfive55

      your living in a dream world(political correctness).this isnt an isolated incident,muslims as a whole are responsible just like they hold Aerica responsble as a whole.if they are such a peace loving religion then why aren't they marching in the streets protesting what their brothers and sisters are doing ?it's because they are all the same

      September 13, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. 1termlimits

    I remember after 9/11 people wanted to shut our boarders and stop aid to muslim countrys. That never happened and we continue to send our hard erned money to these cesspools, Why? I say, lock our boarders down and start deporting all who disagree with our principals. Close the check book now!

    September 13, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Where's the Leadership, Mr. President?

      Borders, sir. Borders.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
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