09/12/2012, 00.00
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US ambassador killed in Benghazi attack

Three staffers are also killed. Bodies have been flown to Tripoli before leaving for a US military base in Germany and then stateside. Suffocation was the cause of death. An Islamic group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Benghazi (AsiaNews) - The US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three staffers were killed during an attack against the US Consulate in the east Libyan city, the country's Interior Ministry and security sources reported.

An unidentified armed group attacked the building with hand grenades and gunfire. Rocket-propelled grenades were also fired at the consulate from a nearby farm. A US-produced film deemed insulting by Muslims ostensibly was the spark.

The ambassador, who was paying a short visit to Benghazi, apparently died of suffocation during the attack, but there is no confirmation about how he and the other three were killed.

Sources told AsiaNews that people in Benghazi are holed up in their homes.

A group calling themselves the 'Islamic law supporters' claimed responsibility for the attack in response to the release of the film.

The bodies of the dead were transported to the Benghazi international airport, to be flown to Tripoli and then onwards to a major US airbase in Germany.

Stevens arrived in Tripoli to take up the post of ambassador in May 2012, having previously served twice previously in Libya.

He had also served as the US government's representative to the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) during the 2011 uprising against the government of Muammar Gaddafi.


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