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:

“I 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.”

[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 “With our souls, with our blood, we will sacrifice for you Prophet Mohammed.”

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. Movie Goer

    These "riots" on American embassies will only continue, because they know Obama will not do anything to hurt his Muslim brothers. They will take full advantage of this and continue their medieval ways.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Seaboat

      so true! they smell the weakness and it's coming from the presidential office.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Yet another reason to vote OBama OUT of office.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      herein lies the problem. Anyone on here know exactly WHAT religion OBama practices?

      September 13, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Down

    This President has failed to keep Americans safe. Bring back the republicans to keep us safe.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Thanks for the humor. Thanks but no thanks. We have had enough of Bushpublican failures and desaster. So far President Obama has kept us safe. And the President had nothing to do with this tragedy.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • bahhb66

      Hahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

      That was funny

      September 13, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Maverick

      If you consider yourself a part of the civilized world, then instead of blaming Obama, blame the film producer for bringing all this rubbish to Americans.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Fearless Freep

      On September 11, 2001 President George Bush failed to stop
      the worst attack on American soil, in history.
      3000 people died.
      The number one priority of any sitting president
      is to keep this country and its people "safe"
      Massive FAILURE.

      But now that we are in a global war against terrorism
      you want Obamas head because 4 Americans died in Libya.

      You people are PATHETIC !!!!!!!!!!!

      September 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bigbiz

    Oh ...get this.The incompetant Leader says that the killers of Stevens et al will be found and brought to justice..Heh heh heh....WHAT ABOUT THAT MOOSLIM TRAITOR MAJ HASAN!!!! ITS BEEN THREE YEARS AGO THAT HE GUNNED DOWN DOZENS OF AMERICAN SOLDIERS AND KILLED 13 AT FORT HOOD ARMY BASE ..AN ARMY BASE IN THE US!! omg!! THE GUY HASENT EVEN GONE TO TRAIL!! WON'T EVEN CUT HIS BEARDTHE ...please step down ...now.. and take that worthless Hillay and her Mooslim gal pal "Huma" with her .Do it for the country do something positive for once in your life!

    September 13, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. GrampaSez

    For those who point out how ridiculous we Christians are, for trying to impress our religious values upon a pregnant woman, for CHRISTAINS ignoring that ROWE v WADE IS THE LAW OF THE LAND...

    Do some of these same people FLIP-FLOP and now say that FOREIGN MUSLIMS should be able to contol and dictate our actions, and limit our FREEDOMS? That our "entertainment" offends their religious sensibilities?

    That would be what we call HYPOCRITICAL.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. BOMBO ©

    Did these people never see Rules of Engagement?

    September 13, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. BOMBO ©

    Does anyone else remember protesters in Pakistan destroying the UNICEF office? You've got to wonder about the thinking behind their targets. "How DARE you come and feed our hungry children!"

    September 13, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. christina

    I wonder if that "Israeli-American" film producer did this just to incite the Muslims against the US so that we would be forced to fight Israel's war against the Muslims. He is purposefully inciting tensions between the US and the middle east. That is all Israel wants from us is to fight their battles.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • mrsjs15

      You're not serious, are you??

      IT JUST SO HAPPENS that a group pulled together on the anniversary of 9/11 over a short film that hasnt even been released??

      Please. And 9/11 was a conspiracy too, right??

      September 13, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. t1349ht

    This is the resulted from the president Obama and Mrs. Clinton foreign policy. They have been in the office 4 years and the resulted is a disaster. They have allow these extreme elements to take over the governments in Middle East.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Tiredofidiots

      ... you do know which presidental family had business ties with the Bin Ladens and Saudi Arabia, yes? Oh wait, no you don't.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. queen

    so what would happen if we burned a flag from another country?

    September 13, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • bahhb66

      You would be scolded and some people would talk bad about you.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Baggadonuts

      If we burned another countries flag, the liberals would be screaming that we are hateful. And apologize

      September 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. GrampaSez

    Thank you, Wade Radke, SEIU International, for your influence in organizing these protesters all across the Arab World...

    September 13, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  11. Observer1234

    This seems like a hell break loose situation when the USA election is ratchetting up. This itself shows Obama admnistration failed domestically and in foreign policy.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Maverick

      Exactly this is how the film producer wanted Americans to react. Open your eyes and stop acting like stupid.

      If we want respect from others we have to respect them too.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joe

    We need a change of President! OBama has run us into the ground financially, has only apologized to our enemies, thinks he is a Hollywood insider and forgets that he has a nation to run!

    Wake up OB and RULE in this time of trouble. After all, you only have a couple more months.....then you and Miche can take that one final jet off into the wild blue yonder.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. DoDa

    One thing is clear: the Obama administration has failed miserably at keeping our embassies and Americans safe overseas.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jim

    You guys are blind if you think we were any safer under Bush. It was a republican that was in office during 911 among others.
    Try blaming that POS that actully commited the viloence.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Tiredofidiots

      They don't want to, because they don't care about anything except getting that not-white liberal out of the White House. It's really just that, sad as it sounds.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. ironmike

    Gee and I would have thought that murdering an ambassador and three other people was reprehensible. Not to mention assaulting our embassies.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • mrsjs15

      @ironmike – No, no. We apologize for things like that... We OBVIOUSLY deserved this. Why else would we bring anyone's FEELINGS into this??? Pfffft.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
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