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. Mona

    Glad our position was to support the people, free elections and democracy. Such a bunch of ungrateful jerks. As much as the blood shed upsets us in Syria we should never help. The people we help will just eventually hate us, it's not worth it. Sad hate is all so many know in the region.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Smack

    It is all by design people. Dont worry nothing happens that does not suppose to happen. And trust me that video is not the reason why all this is happening.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Woodrow Wilson

    I can't wait till Romney gets voted in, then we can start blaming everything on Obama. 🙂

    September 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tonyb

      The press won't let that happen!

      September 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • brian1204

      So much ignorance, so little time...

      September 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nissim Levy

      Romney has as much chance of becoming president as I have of becoming the Pope.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daneetra

      Obama will be reelected. The liberal media reporters support him and will slant any story in an attempt to portray him in a positive light. He has the black vote and much of the women vote. Also all of the unemployed workers who found out they enjoy not working and enjoy getting 99 weeks of unemployment checks, welfare, and food stamps will vote for him. And those who don't want to make their house payments support him. He has it wrapped up.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Lol.
      So the Romney/GOP machine has done a very good job on you, Daneetra.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Congo

      lol!

      Forget that, I'll try and blame it all on Bush.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      The biased, partisan, main stream media has consistently promoted and sold Obama to the American public ... while trashing and demonizing his opponents. Along with the brain washed Obama zombies, they have catapulted Obama into the role of 'Fuhrer' ... and of 'Dear Leader'. The Obama Stooges love Obama more than they love America. Obama is destroying America. America is more important than Obama. Obama is expendable and replaceable ... America is not. Save America ... Elect Romney and Ryan in November !!!

      September 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Issues with Chinamen

      Howard – you have just performed the exact feat right here.

      Pot.Meet.Kettle.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kjnm

    CNN, stop endangering American security by giving people like Terry Jones attention and exaggerating the protests. As violent as the protestors were, they were smaller than the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Your TV ratings would probably be higher if you let go of sensationalism and actually did report honestly

    September 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Issues with Chinamen

      kjnm: There is far too much money at stake for CNN not to give that looney press.

      After all, it (in part) got us all on here, correct?

      September 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tracy Lindle

    This has nothing to do with the film and everything to do with terrorism. Why is the WH and media outlets like CNN saying otherwise?

    September 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • lola

      Because they are afraid, and rightly so !

      September 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Will

    Next time people criticize Americans for mistaking Sikhs for Muslims, keep this in mind. They're so dumb that they're confusing American Christians with Egyptian Copts. Fhucking morons.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    With this hanous act, you insane people will no longer get sympathhizers from the western world anymore. You don't murder an ally and a friend in cold blood because the enemy offended you. Good luck with that war with Israel! How do they say it? Sholom? Well Sholom it is!

    September 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. D.Spaulding

    If only the right wing, with voices so damaging, would only be silent, allowing the powers-that-be, such as the Government of the United States, the President along with the Secretary of States deal with the uprising in the Middle-East uprising, we could see some resolution, sooner than later. Instead, in spite of the People of tis Country pleading with the right-wingers, the attack against the President seems not to abate. Folks, be more sensible and civil. You are doing the same thing that the trouble-makes in the middle east are doing. Where is the difference? Tell me.

    September 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daneetra

      Obama isn't concerned with this. He is out making campaign speaches today. His only real concern is reelection – not doing his job. He shouldn't worry though – the fix is in. He will be reelected no matter what happens. Republicans need to just accept this fact. He is going to be reelected.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Obama is on top of the situation.
      I realize that you want HIS blood Daneeta, but that isn't the way it works.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • joseph

      Good to see the rights giving up. You got 4 years to get a platform the people support. And let me tell you, f the people is not a good platform.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. D Mckenzie

    I am enraged by them burning my American flag – I say drop the big one on them !

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

    Maybe we should think about not reaching so deeply into other countries, where our values or social patterns are not valued the same as we rank them. There are lot's of societies that function perfectly well without our intervention. Why not pull back and start re-investing at home? Home where 1 in 12 people have left the banking sysytem....Home where Median income is the lowest since 1995 and the Lower class grows... Home where the rich-Poor ratio has widened to it's greatest gap since 1967... Home where we can't have a homecoming parade because it involve police, whose unfunded pensions would spike....Let's come home. Let's fix our own country.

    September 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Issues with Chinamen

      I agree 100% with this post.

      America has become OCD with training these countries' dogs, then acts self-righteous when the dog bites back.

      I am not on the Islamic side of the fence – I am for America. We cannot buy friendship and expect it to last.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Frank

    People of the United States of America,

    I just read a POST on MSNBC and it claims to be legitimate;
    It claims that President Obama had to surrender his Law License in 2008 because it was found he lied on his BAR Exam Application,
    Next, Michelle Obama had to surrender her Law License in 1993 or she was going to be prosecuted for Insurance Fraud.
    Again if true, this needs to be exposed everywhere and I mean everywhere, This is a big FNG Deal!, as Joe Biden would say.

    September 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      All men named Frank are gullible.
      Now that you've read this POST, which I claim is legitimate, does that make it *true*?

      September 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Just to make sure, because I've heard this urban legend many times, I checked factcheck.org.
      It isn't true, and they both could practice law today, were they so inclined to.
      Urban legend...just like the urban legend that Romney has three wives because he's Mormon.
      See how *silly* that is?

      September 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      Frank, please check your facts with snoopes.com. This story has been floating around since 2008.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      tea bagger nonsense...and lies as usual.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Everything she says is fact!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Percy

    It's bad enough the U.S. is being attacked abroad. What's even worse is we're being attacked from within by the political right extremists from within. Obama is our president now. On 9/11 our country rallied around President W.Bush & supported him. What the f- is going on here!!!! This is not the time to argue for political advantage. How about rallying around our president & showing the world we're the UNITED STATES..... NOT RIVALING POLITICAL PARTIES. THERE'S PLENTY OF TIME FOR POLITICS AFTER THIS MESS GETS RESOLVED. How embarrasing to air all this crap to the world.

    September 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Issues with Chinamen

      Indeed. Americans have forgotten to respect the office if not the man holding it.

      We will implode from within if this doesn't change.

      Rapidly.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justthefacts

      You have to have something or someone to rally around. What has he done (other than continually apologise) to have anyone rally around him.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Proudtobe American

    While we are guaranteed a right to free speech, that does not extend to hate speech which is exactly what the film is that is the root cause of these protests. There could be no purpose for that film, or translating it to Arabic, other than to incite unrest in the Middle East and I condemn the filmmaker and all those associated with its making for causing the deaths of so many people.Whether it was a sham designed to cover up the planned terrorist atacks, it still played a role in causing the unrest that continues today.

    September 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Issues with Chinamen

      "While we are guaranteed a right to free speech, that does not extend to hate speech ..."

      Unfortunately it does.

      One man's hate speech is another's valued belief.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Congo

    On the first night, I wondered why they were able to penetrate the embassy grounds without any shots being fired. Well, guess what, the Marines at the embassy were not allowed to carry live ammunition.

    What the heck!?!?! President Barack Obama needs to stop appeasing these people.

    September 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      The "live ammunition" thing is up to the host country...most allow it. Libya and Egypt do not...

      September 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    CNN is on their SENSOR BLOCK for me to post a Negative Obama Comment,
    Google: Preident Obama loses law license,it will boggle you mind!

    September 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      Per banasy©
      Just to make sure, because I've heard this urban legend many times, I checked factcheck.org.
      It isn't true, and they both could practice law today, were they so inclined to.
      Urban legend...just like the urban legend that Romney has three wives because he's Mormon.
      See how *silly* that is?

      September 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      another groupie

      September 13, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
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