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U.S. moving warships to Libyan coast after ambassador killed

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:41 p.m. HST, Sep 12, 2012

WASHINGTON >> U.S. officials say the Pentagon is moving two warships to the Libyan coast, in the aftermath of the attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three others.

Officials say one destroyer, the USS Laboon, moved to a position off the coast today, and the USS McFaul is en route and should be stationed off the coast within days. The officials say the ships, which carry Tomahawk missiles, do not have a specific mission. But they give commanders flexibility to respond to any mission ordered by the president.

The destroyers have crews totaling about 300. There have been four destroyers in the Mediterranean for some time. These moves will increase that to five.

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss troop movements.

American ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed Tuesday when a mob of protesters and gunmen overwhelmed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, setting fire to it in outrage over a film that ridicules Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Libya's new president apologized today for the attack, which underlined the lawlessness plaguing a region trying to recover from months of upheaval.

Stevens, 52, died as he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as a crowd of hundreds attacked the consulate Tuesday evening, many of them firing machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

By the end of the assault, much of the building was burned out and trashed. Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since 1979.

A Libyan doctor who treated Stevens said he died of severe asphyxiation, apparently from smoke. In a sign of the chaos of during the attack, Stevens was brought alone by Libyans to the Benghazi Medical Center with no other Americans, and no one at the facility knew who he was, the doctor, Ziad Abu Zeid, told The Associated Press.

Stevens was practically dead when he arrived close to 1 a.m. today, but "we tried to revive him for an hour and a half but with no success," Abu Zeid said. The ambassador had bleeding in his stomach because of the asphyxiation but no other injuries, he said.

President Barack Obama ordered increased security to protect American diplomatic personnel around world. Hours before the Benghazi attack, Egyptians angry over the film protested at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, climbing its walls and tearing down an American flag, which they replaced briefly with a black, Islamist flag.

"I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi," Obama said, adding the four Americans "exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe."

Libya's interim president, Mohammed el-Megarif, apologized to the United States for the attack, which he described as "cowardly." Speaking to reporters, he offered his condolences on the death of the four Americans and vowed to bring the culprits to justice and maintain his country's close relations with the United States.

The three Americans killed with Stevens were security guards, he said.

"We extend our apology to America, the American people and the whole world," el-Megarif said.

The spark for the protests in Libya and Egypt was an obscure movie made in the United States by a California filmmaker who calls Islam a "cancer." Video excerpts posted on YouTube depict Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in an overtly ridiculing way, showing him having sex and calling for massacres.

But the brazen assaults — the first on U.S. diplomatic facilities in either country — underscored the lawlessness that has taken hold in Libya and Egypt after revolutions ousted their autocratic secular regimes and upended the tightly controlled police state in both countries.

Islamists, who were long repressed under the previous regimes, have emerged as a powerful force and made up the bulk of the protests in both countries.

Moreover, security in both countries has broken down. Egypt's police, a onetime hated force blamed for massive human rights abuses, have yet to fully take back the streets after Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February 2011.

On Tuesday in Cairo, riot police stood by the embassy's walls but continued to allow protesters to climb them for several hours. The protesters, however, appeared to intentionally stick to certain limits: A few entered the embassy grounds to remove the flags and come back, but otherwise the chanting youth stayed on top of the walls without storming the compound or damaging property.

The uproar over the film also poses a new test for Egypt's new Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, who has yet to condemn the riot outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo or say anything about the offending film. The protest was by mostly ultraconservative Islamists.

In Libya, central government control is weak, arms are ubiquitous and militias are pervasive. The consulate in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, is a one-story villa in a large garden located in an upscale neighborhood. By the end of Tuesday night's attack, much of the building was black and smoldering. Libyans wandered freely around the burned-out building, taking photos of rooms where furniture was covered in soot and overturned.

The violence raised worries that further protests could break out around the Muslim world as knowledge of the anti-Islam movie spread. So far, however, the only sign of unrest today was a protest by dozens of Gazans in Gaza City. Some of the protesters carried swords, axes and black flags, chanting, "Shame on everyone who insults the prophet." The rally was organized by supporters of the Popular Resistance Committees, a militant group aligned with the ruling Hamas movement.

Afghanistan's government sought to avert an outbreak of protests. President Hamid Karzai condemned the movie, which he describes as "inhuman and insulting." Authorities also temporarily shut down access to YouTube, the video-sharing site where excerpts of the movie were posted, said Aimal Marjan, general director of Information Technology at the Ministry of Communications.

Ultraconservative Islamists also were suspected of being behind the Benghazi attack. Advocating a strict interpretation of Islam, they have bulldozed Sufi shrines and mosques that house tombs in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and other cities, including ancient sites dating back to 5,000 years ago.

Heavily armed, ultraconservative groups like Ansar al-Shariah, or Supporters of Shariah, have claimed responsibility for the attacks on the shrines, declaring Sufi practices as "heretical."

Libya has been also hit by a series of recent attacks that served as evidence of the deep and persistent security vacuum in the country after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi's regime, which was ousted by rebels backed by a NATO air campaign. Many Libyans believe that unrest in their country is in part the work of Gadhafi's loyalists who want to undermine efforts to rebuild the country after last year's ruinous civil war.

Stevens was a career diplomat who spoke Arabic and French and had already served two tours in Libya, including running the office in Benghazi during the revolt against Gadhafi. He was confirmed as ambassador to Libya by the Senate earlier this year.

Before Tuesday, five U.S. ambassadors had been killed in the line of duty, the last being Adolph Dubs in Afghanistan in 1979, according to the State Department historian's office.

The two-hour movie that sparked the protests, titled "Innocence of Muslims," came to attention in Egypt after its trailer was dubbed into Arabic and posted on YouTube.

Sam Bacile, a 56-year-old California real estate developer, said he wrote, produced and directed the movie. Bacile told The Associated Press he was an Israeli Jew and an American citizen. But Israeli officials said today they had not heard of Bacile and there was no record of him being a citizen. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to share personal information with the media.

Separately, the film was being promoted by an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian campaigner in the United States.

Bacile said he had not anticipated such a furious reaction. Speaking by phone from an undisclosed location, Bacile, who went into hiding Tuesday, remained defiant. He said he believes the movie will expose Islam's flaws to the world.

"Islam is a cancer, period," he repeatedly said in a solemn, accented tone.

Israel, however, sought to distance itself from Bacile.

"It's obvious we'll have to be vigilant. Anything he did or said has nothing to do whatsoever with Israel. He may claim what he wants. This was not done with or for or through Israel." Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said today.

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false wrote:
2016the movie.com If you want to understand Obama and the Middle east
on September 12,2012 | 01:29PM
Grimbold wrote:
Obama is subservient to islam and loves that religion. I say Islam is a medieval remnant and has no place in western civilisation.
on September 12,2012 | 05:56PM
Classic_59Chevy wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on September 12,2012 | 06:29PM
tiki886 wrote:
Evil only understands death. We should help the evil doers 'understand'.
on September 12,2012 | 08:19PM
Waimanalodayz1 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on September 12,2012 | 02:49PM
312guy wrote:
do you really beleive that! i guess you want to see his birth certificate.
on September 12,2012 | 05:03PM
Grimbold wrote:
All you need to know about how Obama court Islam and their rulers: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=tCAffMSWSzY#t=28
on September 12,2012 | 05:57PM
GorillaSmith wrote:
There's nothing wrong with Libya that a mushroom cloud wouldn't solve.
on September 12,2012 | 03:01PM
tiki886 wrote:
Ripley: "I say we takeoff and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."
on September 12,2012 | 08:21PM
Graham wrote:
Results of Arab Spring...
on September 12,2012 | 03:08PM
tiki886 wrote:
..and Obama's collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and who through Hillary and NATO supported the 'rebels' who killed our Ambassador.
on September 12,2012 | 08:25PM
HD36 wrote:
Hopefully we won't have another Gulf of Tonkin incident. In case you don't remember: a US warship was sunk in the Gulf of Tonkin, in Vietnam which plunged the US into the Vietnam war. Later, McNamara admitted that the incident was staged as a false flag incident. The US had Israel sink the ship so it could justify entering the war on communism. Lot's of similarities here, but this time the patsy will be Iran. At least the economy will be stimulated. Those in the military industrial complex should make billions.
on September 12,2012 | 03:25PM
iwanaknow wrote:
While the taxpayers take a BIG hit in the pocketbook/wallet.
on September 12,2012 | 03:28PM
Ronin006 wrote:
HD36, you are spewing unbelievable nonsense. Where in God’s name did you get such garbage? No US warship was sunk in the Bay of Tonkin incident, either by the North Vietnamese or by the Israelis, as you say. The USS Maddox was attacked by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in international waters on August 4, 1964, but it was not hit, despite claims by North Vietnam that it was. The incident resulted in Congress passing the Tokin Gulf Resolution on August 7, 1964, which authorized the President to do whatever necessary to assist "any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty," which included South Vietnam. This included using our armed forces. However, the President did not use this authority until February 1965 after direct attacks on US military advisors in Vietnam. I was there when this occurred.
on September 12,2012 | 04:39PM
Dragonman wrote:
Thats right HD36, listen to Ronin006, you should check your facts before you post such a statement. On Aug. 2 1964 the destroyer USS Maddux was attacked by 3 North Vietemese torpodoe boads. A sea battle followed in which 4 F8 crusaders ( jet fighter bombers ) joined the battle, 4 NK seaman were killed and 6 wounded. The Maddux took one hit by a shell but US forces suffered no casualties. On Aug 4 another alleged incident occured but was later reported to be a ghost incident, in other works torpodoe boats appeared on US radar screens but turned out to be ghost echos. That is what happened, lets not distort history and post falsehoods.
on September 12,2012 | 07:31PM
HD36 wrote:
Where are you getting your info?
on September 12,2012 | 08:31PM
HD36 wrote:
Then why do they call it a " False Flag Incident" Why did McNamara confess to congress, that the incient was staged? Why were millions of baby boomers protesting the war? Why did we prolong the war when we could have won easily? Check the Income statements ov : Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamic, and Dupont (manufacturer of Agent Orange, and Napalm) during the 70's and you;ll see a huge spike in revenue growth. You didn't think all those bombs and bullets were free did you? War costs money, and those who profit the most, want war.
on September 12,2012 | 08:29PM
tiki886 wrote:
Is that why JFK started the Vietnam war?
on September 13,2012 | 01:45AM
tiki886 wrote:
It was Democrats who started the Vietnam war so are you saying that another Democrat is about to start another war in the Middle East?
on September 12,2012 | 08:27PM
gobows wrote:
Jus NUKE'm!
on September 12,2012 | 03:43PM
tiki886 wrote:
Ripley: "I say we takeoff and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."
on September 12,2012 | 08:29PM
atilter wrote:
"Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss troop movements." then why is someone without authority even saying anything about "troop movements"??? mind boggling!!! by the same reasoning, why is the local monopoly paper even repeating it? i just cannot get my mind wrapped around the logic of this entire scenario and chain of events! suffice to say, let the appropriate agencies respond to it which is their job! any discussion anywhere else is pointless AIR!!! sheer stupdity!
on September 12,2012 | 03:54PM
SteveToo wrote:
Close all embassy's in the Muslim world. Bring all military from those reasons home. See them what they want, buy what they sell. If an American is killed or a terrorist attack is traced to any Muslim nation we destroy one city in retaliation. Simple. No more foreign aid to any Muslin nation. Simple. We leave them alone, they leave us alone OR ELSE! Simple.
on September 12,2012 | 04:33PM
312guy wrote:
in a perfect world set up walls surround yourself with water and look to the sky, it just doesn't work that way.
on September 12,2012 | 05:01PM
SteveToo wrote:
How would U deal w/these backward people?
on September 12,2012 | 05:26PM
312guy wrote:
let the president take care of business that's why we elected him, he has done good in taking down much of the terrorist to include bin laden
on September 12,2012 | 05:44PM
64hoo wrote:
he did't take down bin laden the navy seals did. thats why the former navy seal wrote thel book on bin ladens death on how they took bin laden out, not the president who takes most of the credit which he had nothing to do with it.
on September 12,2012 | 06:21PM
Dragonman wrote:
The president never said he killed Laden. Don't make things up, lets stick to facts.
on September 12,2012 | 07:42PM
tiki886 wrote:
The President missed 50% of the intel briefings!
on September 12,2012 | 08:33PM
312guy wrote:
thats right it was romney that gave the order to take out bin laden i stand corrected
on September 12,2012 | 09:01PM
tiki886 wrote:
It was Bush that laid the ground work without which Obama would have no decision to make since he was against "enhanced interrogation". Typical. Take credit from Bush and then blame Bush when things go bad. Obama is pathetic!
on September 12,2012 | 09:49PM
ISCREAM wrote:
He should have protected them before they were killed...gross negligence on Secretary of State and President.
on September 12,2012 | 06:31PM
312guy wrote:
easy to put the blame on this president, how about the twin towers was it gross negligence on president bush?
on September 12,2012 | 09:02PM
tiki886 wrote:
No, Clinton refused to take Bin Laden into custody when the Sudanese offered him up to the Clinton administration. That lead to the bombing of the USS Cole.
on September 13,2012 | 01:49AM
64hoo wrote:
heres how i would deal with these terrorist i would attack the muslem brotherhood in egypt and libya and wipe them and there leaders out and not give them billions in aid like we did. these mulim brotherhood who are behind all these attacks are hitlers heirs. continuing on for hitler.
on September 12,2012 | 05:56PM
Dragonman wrote:
I can't believe you would risk plunging the world into another world war, possibly a nuclear one. Me thinks you are just a troll just fishing for responses.
on September 12,2012 | 07:40PM
312guy wrote:
i agree with you
on September 12,2012 | 09:03PM
tiki886 wrote:
Duh!? Who provoked a war? You want Obama to wave the white flag? Of course you do!
on September 12,2012 | 09:50PM
ISCREAM wrote:
They were in an unstable country that had just undergone a violent revolution with an unstable government. Why was there no protection for life and property?
on September 12,2012 | 06:32PM
Dragonman wrote:
Good question, perhaps we will get the answer to your question over the next few days.
on September 12,2012 | 07:43PM
tiki886 wrote:
Because Obama collaborated with the Muslim Brotherhood and supported the 'rebels' who killed Gaddafi. Now they are killing Americans!
on September 12,2012 | 09:51PM
CloudForest wrote:
Obama = Jimmy Carter II. Maybe the President should look between his legs and see what he is made of.
on September 12,2012 | 05:17PM
312guy wrote:
ask bin laden
on September 12,2012 | 05:39PM
Dragonman wrote:
I believe Bush had an opportunity to take out bin laden but failed to give the go order and Laden got away while he was hiding in Afganistan. Obama had the courage to give the go order. Enough said.
on September 12,2012 | 07:37PM
312guy wrote:
thank you
on September 12,2012 | 09:04PM
tiki886 wrote:
Obama's 1st term is what Jimmy Carter's 2nd term would looked like, disaster!
on September 12,2012 | 08:42PM
64hoo wrote:
this is what happens when the u.s. and u.n. help these people overthrow ghadafi we give them aid and money and this is what we get in return for helping them. when will we ever learn.
on September 12,2012 | 05:32PM
ISCREAM wrote:
With the recent revolution in Libya and a relatively unstable government installed, why was there no protection for our Ambassador and employees? This seems to be a gross failure of our Department of State? ! ?
on September 12,2012 | 06:30PM
Dragonman wrote:
It appears that way but lets wait for all the facts to come out before we throw people under the bus. Remember how everyone blamed JD for the concert fisaco. Lots of questions to be answered next few days.
on September 12,2012 | 07:36PM
tiki886 wrote:
JD didn't kill 4 diplomats and burn the American flag! Duh?! He only lost $200K to scammers. If only...
on September 12,2012 | 08:45PM
HD36 wrote:
Why do we give billions of foreign aid to this country?
on September 12,2012 | 08:39PM
tiki886 wrote:
Maybe we could hire Gloria Allred to sue these SOBs into submission? Or perhaps the ACLU could lodge a complaint that we are very, very ,very angry and if they don't stop and desist we are going to get even angrier!
on September 12,2012 | 08:40PM
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