BENGHAZI, Libya, Sept 12 An American staff
member of the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of
Benghazi has died following fierce clashes at the compound,
Libyan security sources said on Wednesday.
"One American staff member has died and a number have been
injured in the clashes," Abdel-Monem Al-Hurr, spokesman for
Libya's Supreme Security Committee, said, adding that he did not
know the exact number of injured and could not say what the
cause of death was.
Armed gunmen attacked the compound on Tuesday evening,
clashing with Libyan security forces before the latter withdrew
as they came under heavy fire. The armed group is said to have
been protesting a film being produced in the United States.
The incident followed a protest in neighbouring Egypt where
demonstrators scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy, tore down
the American flag and burned it during a protest over what they
said was a film that insulted Prophet Mohammad.
Reuters reporters on the scene could see looters raiding the
empty Benghazi compound, walking off with desks, chairs and
Unknown gunmen were shooting at the buildings while others
threw handmade bombs into the compound, setting off small
explosions. Small fires were burning around the compound.
Passersby entered the unsecured compound to take pictures
with their mobile phones and watch the looting.
No security forces could be seen around the consulate and a
previous blockade of the road leading to it had been dismantled.
"The Libyan security forces came under heavy fire and we
were not prepared the intensity of the attack," Hurr said.
Libya's interim government has struggled to impose its
authority on a myriad of armed groups which have refused to lay
down their weapons and often take the law into their own hands.
A number of security violations have rocked Benghazi,
Libya's second biggest city and the cradle of last year's revolt
that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.