Yemeni protesters storm US embassy in Sanaa
Sanaa, September 13, 2012
Hundreds of Yemeni demonstrators stormed the US embassy in Sanaa on Thursday in protest at a film they consider blasphemous to Islam, and security guards tried to hold them off by firing into the air.
The attack followed Tuesday night's storming of the US Consulate in Libya's Benghazi, where the ambassador and three other staff were killed. President Barack Obama said the perpetrators would be tracked down and ordered two destroyers to the Libyan coast, but there were fears protests would spread to other countries in the Muslim world.
Young demonstrators shouting "we redeem, Messenger of God" smashed windows of the security offices outside the embassy with stones and burned cars before breaking through the main gate of the heavily fortified compound in eastern Sanaa. Others held aloft banners declaring 'Allah is Greatest'.
Tyres blazed outside the compound and protesters scaled the walls.
"We can see a fire inside the compound and security forces are firing in the air. The demonstrators are fleeing and then charging back," one witness told Reuters.
Witnesses said there were some injuries on both sides but gave no exact figures.
Yemen, a key US ally, is home of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is viewed by Washington as the most dangerous branch of the militant network established by Osama bin Laden.
Meanwhile, Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi pledged to protect foreigners and diplomatic missions in his country, two days after protesters scaled the walls of the US embassy in Cairo.
"We ought to protect all visitors, tourists and diplomatic missions," Mursi told a news conference in Brussels. "In Egypt, as you know, and everywhere in the Arab world, there is anger regarding what happened recently, those who made up that short movie that defames the Prophet. We strongly condemn that."
He said the Egyptian government had assured US President Barack Obama that it would not permit "any such event, any such occurrence in our country against the embassies present in our territories".
"We will cooperate with the European Union, with the other countries, with the American administration in order to prevent such events in the future," he said.
Mursi was in Brussels for his first visit to Europe since becoming Egypt's first freely elected leader in June. - Reuters