US missions attacked in Egypt, Libya

Cairo/Washington: Hundreds of angry protesters set on fire the US consulate in Libya’s Benghazi city killing one diplomat, hours after a mob attacked American embassy in Egypt to protest a film deemed offensive to Islam.

Armed men attacked US consulate offices in Libya’s second biggest city Benghazi on Tuesday, and fought with security forces. The gunmen then set the US mission office on fire, killing one diplomat.

In a statement today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed the death of a US diplomat, who was not identified, and condemned the attack on the Benghazi consulate.

“As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack,” Clinton said in a statement.

“In light of the events of today, the United States government is working with partner countries around the world to protect our personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide,” she added. Clinton called Libyan President to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya.

The Benghazi incident followed a protest in neighboring Egypt where protesters surrounded the US embassy in Cairo, some of them climbing up the walls and tearing down the American flag, to protest the film by a US-based Coptic group.

US officials were, however, reluctant to establish any link between the two incidents.

“We cannot confirm any connection between these incidents,” a senior State Department official said in response to questions linking the two incidents.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland also confirmed the attack on Benghazi consulate.

“We are working with the Libyans now to secure the compound. We condemn in strongest terms this attack on our diplomatic mission,” Nuland said.

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