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. David B

    It looks like there's a large number of people who are eager to pounce on any opportunity to outraged about something.. anything, that they can use as an excuse to take to the streets in a fit of murderous hysteria. A "film" (anyone with a video camera can make a "film", no matter how cheap and amateurish) of unknown origin which has nothing to do with the US government is their latest flimsy excuse launch violent attacks. These protesters are pathetic.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Where's the Leadership, Mr. President?

      They're not pathetic; they're brainwashed by mythical Gods and pawns of political and financial actors.

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

      they are not protesters they are MURDERERS

      September 13, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lavonya

    Barak Hussien Osama. He will stop those Muslims.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      And Mitt Willard Romney will praise them because he's sees this tragedy as an opportunity to score political points and gain ground in the polls. But it won't work. I won't be surprised if Willard had some part in this film. After all, the guy who made this movie was another right wing chair talking Hollywood film producer.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jim

    Quit blaming the presidents..This is just an excuse for the POS muzzy to create violence..If we don't try to work with these other countries we will be at more risk. I do hope we treat this with some type of force. Otherwise it will happen again.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. klur

    What I don't understand is why these protestors are angry at all Americans. I did not make an anti-Muslim film, did not see it, I have know idea what film they are even talking about- yet 1000's of Muslims are angry at me?
    I am intelligent and compassionate enough to understand that all Muslims are not violent angry murderers like the few that bombed the US embassy or the Muslims responsible for 9/11. What kind of people hate and want to kill any American because a few Americans made a film.

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

      Agree! And they murdered a heads of state who fought tirelessly to bring democracy to their country. These idiots just don't know how to differentiate between ally and enemy. Fools!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. jay

    The movie had nothing to do with the violence. It was an excuse. This type of violence will continue as long as there are religious and political differences in the area. We don't do it to make the entire world a democracy, we do it to maintain control over important resources. If we didn't rely so heavily on those resources, we wouldn't be involved at all. There are areas of Africa with the same issues, some even worse than what we are seeing in the Middle East yet our presence in that area is minimal because there is no financial interest in the area.

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

    Where are all the people in this country protesting in the street like during the Vietnam War. I see no outrage of american bodies coming home almost everyday from countries that we send billions of money to and don't want democracy

    September 13, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. IslamWeinstein

    Monkey's see...and monkey's do.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. Paul

    Extremists, are the problem, not religion. A religious individual has a devotion to god and practices their faith in a peaceful manner. No religion condones violence, not one. Extremists are a problem both domestically and internationally. Christian extremists also exist is my point. Islam gets a bad wrap because many of the individuals are young, under-educated, and believe that Islam is the be all, end all of the world.

    All of this being said, these people attacking our embassies should be held accountable. They are attacking us the same way as if a foreign army were attacking us. If one more US citizen dies because of some whacked out crazy person who created a Youtube video, these attackers need to be fired upon with live ammunition as soon as they touch US soil.

    Final point, we need to stop seeing all of these puff pieces about foreign countries with dictators and their people praying for the United States' help. It's pretty clear that we are not wanted, so why waste the tax dollars when they can feed our people.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Tired of Obama's Failures

      Actually every major religion at some point has espoused violence for the purpose of either defending its existence or converting the non-believers. If you did any reading at all, you'd know that.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  9. Giselle

    Obama's legacy is presiding over the rapid decline of a former economic and military superpower. When a society becomes indifferent and loses the will to fight, some other guy who has the will to fight will take over. The US is perceived as a fading power, and this anti American episodes will increase as Obama reinforces the perception of weakness. Sequestration happens in January. You think the US is weak now? It's all over in January. All you Obama voters with visions of free stuff dancing around your head, what will you do then?

    September 13, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      President Obama inherited two wars and a very bad economic crisis. No other President in the history of this country has ever inherited two wars and an economic crisis simultaneously. And by the way, no other President has had to deal with a divided congress that stated openly that they wanted the Presdient and the country to fail. Teapublicans say well Mr. President, you've been in office for four years and the unemployment rate is still high. Then they say, O' when the Dems controlled congress, they should have done this and that! Well guess what? When the Dems were in charge for two years, this is what happened: The historic ACA was passed, making healthcare more affordable for million of Americans, Wall Street reform to safeguard against another economic crisis was passed, the Iraqi war was over, the economy was stabilized, millions of American jobs had been created and saved, OBL was killed and America's trust and credibility around the world had been restored. Then this is what happened when the GOT took over control of the House: ZERO job growth, a gender war against women, a war against seniors, a war against the middle class, a war against African, Hispanic and Muslim-Americans and a war against Gays and Lesbians. Let's face it, President Obama may have been in office for four years but in resptrospect, he has had only TWO years to govern because when the Jim Crow Tea Party took over the House with their obstructionist tactics, progress stalled in its tracks.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Fearless Freep

      Obama's legacy is presiding over the rapid decline of a former economic and military superpower

      He is trying to save it, but you are too stupid to see that.
      You want to put the same people back in power who started this mess.
      Igorant and stupid.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tired of Obama's Failures

    Well, at least this came before November so americans can see what a foregin policy failure Obama was destined to be.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Agree! But you will not convince those who are Democrats for OB. They like that their President apologizes profusely to our enemies and sends them perks as well. His speech writer is busy coining phrases for his next apology right now.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Fearless Freep

      President apologizes profusely to our enemies ......

      Obama has not apoligized to anybody.
      Your Republican talking heads made that one up
      and you swallowed.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. GrampaSez

    A JEW being depicted in a Madrasah as a PIG and hearing that it is the Muslim child's duty to murder Israeli men, women, and children, is likely to go attack an embassy?

    September 13, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. cj219

    We have more people murdered in Chicago on any given day, 4770 in the past 10 years, than what has happened in Lybia and no one gets too upset about that. Thiis was a horrible, terrible, cowardly act that should be condemned, but let's not think Muslims are the only ones capable of murder.

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

      I heard your Rahm Emmanuel say that crime was DOWN 10% just the other day. So you should be happy about that. Of course, he (like OBama) didnt mention what the murder rate was.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. GrampaSez

    A Christian who observes that his federal taxpayer money goes to support "art" that consists of a cross, with an image of Jesus on it, upside down in a glass of urine is likely to go kill somebody's ambassador?

    September 13, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. GrampaSez

    A white person hearing a black power activist saying "You got to kill the white man. You got to kill they babies.", or hearing Eric Holder say, "To investigate WHITE PEOPLE'S complaints about voter intimidation would be an INSULT TO MY PEOPLE, who went through so much during the civil rights marches..." ...would make the white person, as OBAMA said in describing his GRANDMOTHER, "frightened when they see a black person coming"?

    September 13, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. ronvan

    IF the Quran "teaches" that this kind of violence is OK, then I must conclude that I and every other person, NOT of the muslim faith, are the enemy (infidels), and need to be destroyed!? While we continually scream that WE have freedom of speech, muslims, obviously, think & demand that they are exempt from anything other than praise of a religion that, again, YOU say, is OK to kill, even your own people if they do not agree! I would assume that YOU could find some excuse to justify the 9/11 murderous attacks! This idiot that made this "film" which has incited violence, resulting in the murder of more Americans, should face the FULL measure of our laws, and then locked up and throw the key away!
    WE, Americans, also have a duty to punish ALL that promote hate and commit violent actions. NOW, because YOU, muslims, who cannot control yourselves, and whose ONLY reaction is to commit more violence, will face the consequences! LOOK to the skies, the drones are coming, and they will strike!!

    September 13, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17