I am a Burmese exile taking a near-permanent refuge in New York and Sydney. Here are my essays about Burma and anything else I feel like writing about. And posting the articles I like from selected sites. Bridging Burma to the world this Blog is more of a Politically-Oriented Literary Blog than a Plain News Blog or a Sophisticated Thoughts Blog.
U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was killed by a "small and savage group" of Libyan militants who stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today.
Stevens, 52, died Tuesday night as 20 gun-wielding attackers descended on the U.S. consulate, firing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, Libya's Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif told a news conference in Benghazi.
Nearly a dozen Americans were inside the consulate at the time, guarded by Libyan security. For nearly 20 minutes the Libyan guards exchanged fire with the attackers, who hurled a firebomb inside.
The militants burned down at least one building in the attack.
It's not clear yet how Stevens died, but the Associated Press quoted a Libyan doctor who said the ambassador died of asphyxiation, apparently from smoke. The doctor, Ziad Abu Zeid, told the AP he worked for 90 minutes to revive Stevens.
Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith died from smoke inhalation during the attack, officials said.
American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya Burning.
Two more Americans, possibly guards who were trying to get Stevens out of the area, were also killed. U.S. officials are still making next of kin notifications.
Clinton praised Stevens who began working in Libya during the revolt against Muammar Gadhafi.
"He risked his life to stop a tyrant and gave his life trying to build a better Libya," she said.
The attack on the consulate in Benghazi came shortly after protesters in Cairo, Egypt, scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy and tore down the American flag in an angry demonstration against a movie about the life of the Prophet Muhammad, depicting the founder of Islam as a fraud and a womanizer.
Clinton suggested that the movie played a role in the Benghazi attack as well, saying they were "working to determine motivations," but added, "Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on Internet."
The secretary of state said she asked herself "how could this happen in a country we helped liberate and in a city we helped to save from destruction." But she added that the people who attacked the consulate were a "small and savage group."