High alert at US embassies: Fear that anger at anti-Islam film may engulf Middle East

Egyptian protesters tear down the US flag at the US embassy in Cairo on September 11, 2012.(AFP Photo / STR)
Egyptian protesters tear down the US flag at the US embassy in Cairo on September 11, 2012.(AFP Photo / STR)

US embassies across the globe are tightening security after the ambassador to Libya died in a militia attack against the Benghazi consulate. The attack was sparked by a US film satirizing the Prophet Muhammad. Protests over the film are widening.

A US Marine Corps anti-terrorism group has been dispatched to Libya to boost security in the wake of the deadly assault, officials said Wednesday. The Tuesday night attack resulted in the death of John Christopher Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya, and three other diplomatic staffers.

Besides ordering the roughly 50-member unit of the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team to move in, Washington has also told all non-emergency US government personnel to leave the North African country and warned US citizens against travelling there.

Following the attack, the US has evacuated all personnel from Benghazi to Tripoli. Meanwhile, staff in the Tripoli embassy was reduced to emergency levels, Reuters reports.

Condemning the attack, the US urged all American embassies across the world to take extra precautions. Calls for more protests against the US-made amateur film mocking Islam are already being raised in Egypt, Afghanistan, Algeria and other countries.

In Tunisia, police fired teargas and tear bullets to disperse protesters outside the US embassy in the country ‘s capital. Around two hundred Salafist demonstrators gathered outside the premises in Tunis to condemn the controversial movie. Several American flags were put on fire and prayers were told for the embassy to be closed. After rallying peacefully for several hours, the demonstrators then attempted to break through the gates of the embassy compound, but were blocked by the police and army.

A similar demonstration in Gaza wrapped up with Palestinians burning a US flag.

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