Sep 13, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from Fox News: Protesters angered by a film they consider blasphemous to Islam have stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, in the most recent attack on U.S. diplomatic posts in the Middle East.
Protesters smashed windows as they breached the embassy perimeter and reached the compound grounds, although they did not enter the main building housing the offices. Angry young men brought down the U.S. flag in the courtyard, burned it and replaced it with a black banner bearing Islam’s declaration of faith — “There is no God but Allah.”
Yemeni security forces who rushed to the scene fired in the air and used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators, driving them out of the compound after about 45 minutes and sealing off the surrounding streets. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was inside the embassy at the time of the attack.
Demonstrators removed the embassy’s sign on the outer wall, set tires ablaze and pelted the compound with rocks.
The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington, D.C. said in a statement obtained by Fox News the government of Yemen “strongly condemns” the attack on the U.S. compound, but says the situation is under control.
“Fortunately no casualties were reported from this chaotic incident. The government of Yemen will honor international obligations to ensure the safety of diplomats and will step up security presence around all foreign missions,” the statement said. “We strongly urge all those that would wish to incite others to violence to cease immediately.
Pentagon officials tell Fox News that Pentagon and U.S. Navy officials are monitoring the situation in Yemen, but so far have received no request for military assistance there following the Embassy breach.
“We are doing everything we can to support our mission in Yemen,” a senior administration official told Fox News. “We’ve had good cooperation from the Yemeni government which is working with us to maintain order and protect our facilities and people.”
Yemen is home to Al Qaeda’s most active branch and the United States is the main foreign supporter of the Yemeni government’s counterterrorism campaign. The government on Tuesday announced that Al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader in Yemen was killed in an apparent U.S. airstrike, a major blow to the terror network.
The incident was similar to an attack on the U.S. Embassy in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Tuesday night. A mob of Libyans also attacked the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday, killing American Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Warning shots and tear gas were fired on Egyptian protesters who were clashing with police near the U.S. Embassy in the capital Cairo for the third day in a row.
The violence has raised worries that further protests could break out around the Muslim world as anger spreads over the movie.
The movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” came to attention in Egypt after its trailer was dubbed into Arabic and posted on YouTube. The video-sharing website blocked access to it Wednesday. The trailer depicts Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in an overtly ridiculing way, showing him having sex and calling for massacres.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.