Tripoli (AsiaNews /
Agencies) - The United States is sending two destroyers to the Libyan coast and
a unit of 50 Marines to protect U.S. personnel still in Tripoli, after the
assassination of their ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three other members
of the diplomatic staff during an attack by gunmen in Benghazi. 10 Libyans were
also killed in the clash.
Experts wonder if the attack on the U.S. consulate in the capital of Cyrenaica was spontaneous, born of a rally protesting an anti-Islam film, or whether it was a premeditated attack, using the demonstration as a screen.
The safest assumption is that of a premeditated attack: the gunmen struck in a professional way, using sophisticated weapons, in several waves. It seems that they knew the structure of the consulate well, the safe area where Ambassador Stevens was heading to hide, before being hit by grenade- missiles.
The Libyan doctor who treated him, said that Stevens died of asphyxia due to smoke inhalation. Libyan personnel transported the ambassador hospital, where no one knew him. The medical staff tried to revive him, but to no avail.
Libyan national security sources believe that the attack was organized and run by Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamic group that claims to be close to al Qaeda, even if they were mixed with the crowd, which included tribal militiamen and others. But the group has denied involvement.
At a White House in the midst of the presidential election campaign, there outrage and shock, but also determination because, as President Obama assured, "justice will be done for this terrible act." Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, has asked "how could this happen in a country that we helped to liberate, in a city that we have helped and saved from destruction?".
Doubts also remain about the movie that sparked the attack. Producer, Sam Basin, 56, an Israeli-American, is now hidden in a secret location. He defends his work which was intended to condemn Islam as "a cancer" and a "lie." In the film, titled "Innocence of Muslims," Muhammad is presented as violent homosexual pedophile, a supporter of child abuse, etc. The film, shot with very little professionalism and with a budget of only 5 million dollars, collected from Jewish donors, was screened only once in a half-empty room.
Its trailer on Youtube found an Arabic translator, whom the director says he does not know, thus broadcasting the images and criticism to the wider Muslim world. Among the supporters of the film there is also the pastor Terry Jones, infamous for his 2010 threat to burn a Koran, which led to a series of Islamic vendettas against Western and Christian targets.
Some agencies have also cited Coptic personalities in the U.S. among its supporters, but the Coptic Church of Egypt has strongly condemned the film, the sole aim of which is to offend a religious belief.
Protests - quite peaceful - have also been held in Cairo, in front of the U.S. embassy. Among the demonstrators there are also many young Copts.
The Libyan crisis and the shock caused by the anti-Islam film falls at a time of growing tension between the United States and the State of Israel, between Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu on how to curb Iran in its nuclear race. In recent days, Netanyahu directed some statements to Obama and Clinton who reaffirm the importance of dealing with the Iranian crisis through diplomatic channels. Netanyahu and his government want military action, an air strike to destroy the nuclear power plants in Iran, where it is believed Tehran is building nuclear weapons. Iran has always denied this allegation and claims its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.