The US ambassador to Libya and three other American citizens have been killed in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi. The ambassador died after the US Consulate was stormed by an angry mob of hundreds of armed men, after large scale protests during the day against the release of a new film, made by an American film makers, that ridicules the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.
A Libyan official said the US ambassador had been on his way to a safer venue after rioters shot and killed another member of staff. It is not clear if he was killed inside the building, or in his car as he attempted to flee.
According to an interior ministry official, the mob fired shots and stormed the building. Outnumbered by the crowd the consulate security forces were powerless as the crowd set nearby cars alight, broke windows. looted and set fire to the building.
President Obama paid tribute to Ambassador Chris Stephens and the three other American staff killed in the "outrageous" attack.
He also ordered security to be stepped up at US Consulates across the globe. In neighbouring Egypt demonstrators scaled the walls of the US embassy, tore down the American flag and burned it.
President Obama said those killed exemplified "America's commitment to freedom" and said their legacy would endure:
Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Dr Mustafa Abushagur condemned the attacks as "barbaric" and "cowardly".
Libyan leader Mohammed Magerief appeared on TV to apologise:
Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was appalled:
In a video posted on the US Embassy's YouTube account the recently appointed official talked about his "unique connection to the Arab world" and how excited he was to "help the Libyan people achieve their goals." In his address he said: