The United Nations on Wednesday strongly condemned the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other American diplomats.
The United Nations’ top political official, Jeffrey Feltman, told the U.N. Security Council “we condemn in the strongest terms” the attack in Benghazi on Tuesday. The killings “further emphasize the security challenges facing the authorities in Libya,” said Feltman.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also condemned on Wednesday the attack as the work of a “small and savage group" but said U.S.-Libyan ties would not suffer.
“I ask myself, how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?” Clinton said.
“This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be.”
“But we must be clear-eyed even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya,” she added in a brief appearance.
Clinton said a free and stable Libya was in U.S. interests and that ties between the two countries would not be a “casualty” of the attack.
After Clinton’s address, President Barack Obama condemned the “outrageous” attack in Benghazi and vowed it would not break America’s bond with the newly liberated nation.
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack,” Obama said in a statement in the White House Rose Garden. “Make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.”
Obama quickly ordered increased security at U.S. diplomatic posts around the world, while slamming Tuesday’s deadly assault in Benghazi -- an Islamist stronghold in eastern Libya -- which coincided with the anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the United States.
Russia, meanwhile, expressed deep concern over the attack and said it considers all attacks on diplomats to be “manifestations of terrorism.”
“Moscow views the events in Cairo and particularly in Benghazi, which led to the tragic deaths of four American diplomats, with deep concern,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban called on Afghans on Wednesday to prepare for a fight against Americans and urged insurgents to “take revenge” on U.S. soldiers over a U.S.-made film depicting Prophet Mohammad.
“The Islamic Emirate calls on religious heads around the country to completely inform Muslim followers of the inhumane acts of Americans... And make them ready for a long-term fight,” the group said in a statement, referring to the name it calls itself.
Libya blames Qaeda, Qaddafi elements
Libyan authorities on Wednesday pointed a finger of blame at supporters of ousted leader Muammar Qaddafi’s regime and at Al-Qaeda for a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi.
“What happened yesterday coincided with September 11 and has a clear significance,” Mohamed al-Megaryef, president of Libya’s highest political authority, the elected General National Congress, told reporters in Tripoli.
He was referring to Al-Qaeda’s devastating attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001.
“We categorically refuse to allow our lands to be used to mount cowardly and dirty revenge attacks,” he said.
Washington's envoy to Libya and three other Americans were killed when an armed mob outraged over a low-budget movie mocking Islam late on Tuesday attacked the American consulate in Benghazi with rocket-propelled grenades.
Megaryef also pointed a finger of blame at the ousted regime, saying such actions were aimed at sabotaging Libya's moves towards democracy in the wake of three decades of Qaddafi’s autocratic rule.
U.S. marine team heads to Benghazi
Meanwhile, the United States is deploying a U.S. Marine anti-terrorism team to Libya to bolster security after a deadly attack on its consulate in Benghazi, a U.S. defense official said Wednesday.
“The Marines are sending a FAST (Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team) team to Libya,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
The decision to move the roughly 50-member unit to Libya comes after Washington’s ambassador to Tripoli and three other Americans were killed when a mob stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The crowd had been angered over an amateur American-made film mocking Islam, after video clips from the movie had been posted on the Internet.
At least five Americans were wounded in the attack, a U.S. official said Wednesday.
The updated casualty toll came amid speculation over who was behind the attack but officials said it was too soon to conclude if the assault was the result of a rampaging mob or a deliberate plot by militants.
U.S. authorities were still trying to gather facts in the incident but it appeared that at least five American civilians suffered wounds when the consulate in Benghazi came under assault on Tuesday, the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters.
“About five or six people were wounded,” said the official, without offering more details.
The low-budget movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” in which actors have strong American accents, portrays Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.