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. TEXAS where everything is big

    next time I see a Muslim, I will run away from him. These people are a bunch of demons

    September 13, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • mnvancini

      Been there!! Done that!! Remove all non-military embassy personnel now!! Protect our countrymen!!
      Egyptian people not taking action to contain the protesters; they are implicitly approving and encouraging them.
      Appeasement has never been effective.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Christina

      If you think ALL Muslims are a threat, should I assume EVERYONE from Texas is stupid?

      September 13, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • N

      Everyone but me! ūüėČ

      September 13, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • uhadit

      You better run now before its to late live the muslims to themselves its no concern of the coward American christian terrorist to be here in the muslim lands, go home & enjoy yourselves without trouble, the muslims will not bother you

      September 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christina

      N-I loved you even before you spoke!
      To others who think Muslims are dangerous... Do you think other people (in general) hate you? If you do, what did that idea form from? I don't hate you. Even though I'm not Muslim – I don't know you, and I will not hate you because of your skin color, your hair color, your religion, your culture, or anything else. Respecting others is just that-respect. Respect doesn't mean you have to conform or accept other peoples religion, beliefs, cultures, or anything else. It simply is seeing that person for just that-ANOTHER HUMAN BEING.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rocco

    When is the next truthful revealing provoking film being released!?

    September 13, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      so sending in Marines, drones and warships to Libya is being 'silent' ? or declaring that we will find and bring those attackers to justice is being 'silent' on Presodent Obama's part?

      September 13, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    What would you have Muslim scholars in US and Canada or malaysia or Indonesia or Dubai or others say. That its alright to vulgarize and insult and demean our holy book and prophet?
    We are seeing violent protests in countries where anti_american sentiment has been simmering as a result of our military interventions , presence and constant interference.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • N

      You mean like Egypt and Israel?

      September 13, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Saythis

      What some idiot film maker did does not justify the violence against Americans and the embassies in these countries. He has the right to make any kind of film he wants to, that is what freedom of expression means. Without it, this country would not be what it is today and people from other countries would not be begging to be let in. Yes, it is ok to insult your holy book and prophet, because that is his right to. These protesters have no right to harm another human being. This only makes their religion seem violent and barbaric.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tired of Obama's Failures

      Hey, genius, they live under Islamist Law, which says everything they've done so far, so long as it's for the prophet, is a-ok.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Saythis

      Which is why religion has no place in government.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. puckerupamerica

    On 9/11/12 a US embassy is attacked and an ambassador goes missing. Our prez is silent and goes to bed. Romney condemns the situation.

    Thank you, Romney, for standing up for America when our own prez wouldn't.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • kiwisepp

      what do you idiot want to do? stage a full scale war against entire Islamic world.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rushikey

      You must have watch Foxnew, Go watch msnbc news! u will see Obama reaction too!

      September 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      You're wrong. The President didn't go to bed. The President was ascertaining information on the incident when Romney decided to take to a microphone before the President did to twist the facts and say the reason why the President hasn't yet addressed the nation is because he's sympathizing with the attackers. That is as un-American, unpatriotic and low as a politician can ever get. As they say, we only have one President at a time and whenever there is a national tragedy, people in government or politicians running for office don't disrespect the office by rushing to a microphone and addressing the nation before the President does with the hopes of scoring political points. That is such a ludicrous and outrageous low by Mittens to try to score political points with the hopes of gaining grounds in the polls. Hey, Mitt, I'm afraid the President just gain five more points on you. GAME OVER!

      September 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fearless Freep

      Our prez is silent and goes to bed...

      Did you tuck him in ?
      Obama was being updated on facts on the ground,
      while Romney was barking out lies for political gain.

      Romney cant walk this one back.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Canadian Beaver

    Hate speech is illegal in Canada. We consider ourselves very free and civilized. Crazy hateful individuals do not deserve the freedom to express hate – what they deserve is jail time.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • N

      It wouldn't be called hate if it was something you agreed with though would it? I am not talking about the video in question because I have not seen it, but in general. Who is to decide what is hate and what is opinion?

      September 13, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Woodrow Wilson

      That is so offensive. You should go straight to h... Oh wait you are in Canada. Close enough.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    Some bloggers have been touting 'Freedom of Speech' regarding that video, as is usually done.
    Now a couple weeks back the legislators in California passed a resolution equating criticism of Israel with anti-semitism. I didn't hear a squeak from these folks who cry 'we still have a thing like Freedom of Speech'??

    September 13, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Tired of Obama's Failures

      Nobody capable of anything other than the most apologistic liberal thinking would ever care in the least what silly resolutions are passed in California.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nissim Levy

      Bias against Israel and the position that Israel has no right to exist does come from anti-semitism but you are free to voice this anti semitism. That's free spech.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. William Reber

    How long will it take for our "leaders" to wake up Produce our own fuels and tell the mid east to kiss off ? They Hate us and when they need use the love us , then it's back to Hate. Yemen is a case and point !! This parts of the world has truely never known peace and till the end of time never will.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Hammerdown

      The oil people make gas.
      Gas goes in cars.
      The oil people, and the car people make millions.
      Good luck finding an alternative to either,
      when they have control of congress.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steevo

    A curse on all religions of allkinds!

    September 13, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. Steevo

    We don't need religions f any kind. The world would be much better off without them.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • N

      Couldn't people say the same things about atheists and agnostics?

      September 13, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Hammerdown


      Couldn't people say the same things about atheists and agnostics?


      September 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Steevo

    A curse on all religious zealots both abroad and here in the U.S.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Deena

      i beg to differ
      we need religion coz it stablises the mind and puts decent rules to protect human beings
      if some illiterate and immature ppl acted foolishly it does not mean that religion shd be ignored, no,, it's just they r over overwhelmed and need guideiness

      September 13, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • N

      I think Steevo is talking about extremists. Not every religious person.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hammerdown

      we need religion coz it stablises the mind and puts decent rules to protect human beings

      W have laws for that.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Portland tony

    Give me a break... There are crazys in this country that will burn your house down if you insult their mother!

    September 13, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tired of Obama's Failures


    But I did read enough to see that you're simply advocating the Christian God over the Muslim one. Since you're both wrong, and since there is no empirical evidence to prove the existence of a God, feel free to stop wasting our time, fool.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. NoTax

    Nuke barbarians

    September 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bcarreiro

    The hate in their hearts have consumed them...theres nothing we can say now that is going to deter them from violence because actions speaks louder than words. we have it too good for them to understand we are on their side and its unfortunate that greed overpowers love.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kevin

    this is all just a setup by the us government so they can start a war with IRAN


    September 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
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