Posted Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, at 12:06 PM
Police use pepper spray during a clash with protesters in Sydney on Saturday as a wave of unrest against a film that mocks Islam spread to Australia
Photo by GREG WOOD/AFP/GettyImages
Al-Qaida’s Yemen branch praised the killing of the U.S. ambassador in Libya and called on Muslims around the world to kill more American diplomats and attack U.S. embassies in Muslim countries, saying the movie that mocks the Prophet Mohammed is only the latest chapter in the “crusader wars” against Islam, reports Reuters.
"The incident is so huge that the resources of the nation should be pooled together to kick out the embassies of America from Muslim lands," noted the statement that was posted on an al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula website Saturday. The news comes as the U.S. is investigating indications that Libyan militants may have held conversations with extremists linked to al-Qaida’s North Africa branch about attacking the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi Tuesday, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Violence linked to the film continued Saturday when insurgents attacked a heavily fortified NATO base in Afghanistan and killed at least two U.S. Marines. The Taliban later told the BBC the attack was a revenge for the film. Yet the BBC’s Jonathan Beale points out that the base is also where Prince Harry is stationed.
The statement that seems to suggest al-Qaida is trying to co-opt the widespread anger over the film came as most cities across the Muslim world were relatively calm a day after at least seven people were killed in a wave of angry protests over the movie, points out the Associated Press. The only reported violent protests linked to the film came from Sydney, where police clashed with around 200 protesters at the U.S. consulate. In Egypt, police cleared out protesters from near the U.S. Embassy and from Tahrir Square, where protests were also being held.
Anger over the film was widespread across the Middle East Friday, with particularly violent clashes in Tunisia and Sudan. In Tunisia, an American school was largely destroyed and protesters set fire to cars in the U.S. Embassy parking lot. In Sudan, police opened fire when protesters tried to climb the U.S. Embassy walls after setting fire to the German Embassy, reports the Washington Post. Anti-U.S. protests were reported in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Britain, East Jerusalem, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, the West Bank, and Yemen, according to the Post.