September 17, 2012Print : Top Story
DUBAI: Washington ordered all non-essential staff to leave Tunisia and Sudan after its embassies were stormed by Muslims protesting an anti-Islam movie and as al-Qaeda called for more attacks on US targets. US officials have already deployed counter-terrorism Marine units to Libya and Yemen and stationed two destroyers off the North African coast. But Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ali Karti, on Saturday flatly rejected a US request to send special forces to protect the Khartoum embassy, the official SUNA news agency said, quoting his office.
Hours later, US officials announced Washington would evacuate all non-essential staff and family members from Sudan and Tunisia and warned US citizens against travel to the two countries. Despite Tehran’s hostility to Washington and its own condemnation of the movie, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commander General Mohammad Ali Jafari said the killing of the US ambassador to Libya last Tuesday was unjustified.
“Definitely this did not warrant killing,” Jafari told a news conference in Tehran. He said that “due to their anger (of protesters), this incident (the killings) happened.”
In the worst violence sparked by the film, the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans died when suspected Islamic militants fired rocket-propelled grenades at the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi.
In cities across the Muslim world protesters have since vented their fury at the “Innocence of Muslims” — an amateur film produced in the United States — by targeting symbols of US influence ranging from embassies and schools to fast food chains.
Although the US government itself has condemned the film, protests erupted again on Sunday, with hundreds of students pouring into the streets of Kabul shouting anti-American slogans, as the Bangladesh government condemned the film as “reprehensible.”
With Muslim anger boiling, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Saturday issued a call for more violence against US diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa, and urged attacks on US interests in the West, the SITE Intelligence Group said. AQAP, al-Qaeda’s Yemeni offshoot, did not claim direct responsibility for the deadly attack in Benghazi.