U.S. Ambassador to Libya Killed in Attack

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 12 2012 8:37 AM

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Killed in Attack

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An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on Tuesday.

Photo by STR/AFP/GettyImages.

***Check the Slatest homepage for the latest on the situation in Libya and reaction back in Washington, D.C.***

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three American members of his staff were killed Tuesday during an attack on the U.S. consulate in eastern Libya, the White House confirmed Wednesday.

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The Associated Press with the details:

"The attacks occurred Tuesday night in the eastern city of Benghazi by protesters angry over a film that ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad, according to Libya officials. Ambassador Chris Stevens, 52, was killed when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as the building came under attack by a mob guns and rocket propelled grenades. Three other Americans were also killed."

Stevens was a career diplomat who was appointed as the ambassador to Libya in May of this year. He had served twice previously in the country: once as a special representative to the Libyan Transitional National Council during last year's revolution that ousted strongman Muammar Qaddafi and once as a deputy chief of mission from 2007 and 2009, according to his official State Department bio.

As we explained yesterday, the attack appears to have been sparked by growing anger over a movie that allegedly insults the Prophet Mohammed. [Update: We've got more on the movie and the man behind it here.]

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both condemned the attacks in statements Wednesday, while mourning the loss of Stevens and his staff.

"I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens," Obama said. "Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives."

***Check the Slatest homepage for the latest on the situation in Libya and reaction back in Washington, D.C.***

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