Al-Qaeda calls for attacks against US diplomats, embassies

Al-Qaeda calls for attacks against US diplomats, embassies

Al-Qaeda's Yemen branch urged Muslims around the world to attack US diplomats and missions in response to a US-made film that mocks Islam's prophet Mohammed, while a cautious calm spread around US embassies in Middle Eastern countries, DPA reported.

Protests against the internet video had spread since Tuesday, with hundreds of demonstrators attacking US and European embassies in several Muslim states.

"Whoever comes across US ambassadors or envoys should follow the example of Omar al-Mokhtar's descendants in Libya, who killed the American ambassador," the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said in a statement posted on Islamist websites on Saturday.

AQAP, which is currently seen as the most active branch of al-Qaeda, comprises mostly of militants from Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

The statement referred to Tuesday's attack on the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, which claimed the lives of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other officials.

The ambassador's death came one day after al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, posted a video on Jihadist forums urging Libyans to avenge the killing of the network's second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, in a US drone strike earlier this year in Pakistan.

"Efforts should lead to one goal, which is to expel the embassies of America from Muslim countries. Let the demonstrations continue, to set fire in these embassies as our jealous brothers did in Egypt and Yemen," read the AQAP statement.

Al-Qaeda called on Muslims living in the West to be involved in attacks on key targets, and described the film as "another chapter in the crusader wars" against Islam.

The film, titled Innocence of Muslims, portrays the prophet Mohammed as a womanizer and paedophile. It was produced privately in the US and has been condemned by the US administration.

Authorities in the United States questioned Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who is suspected of being behind the anti-Islam film, early Saturday morning, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Police officers arrived at Nakoula's home around 12 am (0700 GMT) to take him to a police station for voluntary questioning. The newspaper said he was not arrested or detained.

Violence around US embassies killed at least 8 people in Arab countries.

Four people were killed in rioting at the US embassy in Tunis, the Tunisian capital, whilst two were killed in Cairo before security forces Saturday cleared the streets around the US embassy of demonstrators.

Violent attacks on Western embassies in the Sudanese capital Khartoum killed at least two people and injured 50 police officers, security officials said.

The government in Dhaka on Saturday condemned the film, following several-thousand strong demonstrations in Bangladesh.

Saudi Arabia's highest religious authority, the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Al Sheikh, denounced attacks on diplomats and embassies. He described the film as a "miserable criminal try that will not harm Islam."

"It is forbidden to punish the innocent for the crimes of the guilty, or to attack those granted protection of their lives and property, or to destroy or set fire to public property," he said, adding that attacks on the innocent and diplomats "are also a distortion of the Islamic religion and are not accepted by God."

In Iraq, hundreds protested in southern city of Najaf and burnt the US flag.

"We believe that sowing hatred among peoples in this way by the film directors and intelligence bodies standing behind them will ignite sedition that major powers will bear the responsibility to put out," Shiite cleric Sadr al-Din al-Qabbanji said at the protest.

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