Libyan US Ambassador John Christopher Stevens and two others murdered in Islamic attacks
UPDATE: Graphic photos of J. Christopher Stevens unconscious or deceased being dragged by the protesers, taking photos with Stevens’ corpse – these have hit the Internet. These show the gruesome scene that left Stevens and two others (one identified as Sean Smith) dead. See them here
U.S. Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens and at least two other embassy staffers were reported killed Tuesday in an assault on the American consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi.
Wire services and reporters on the ground said Libyan government officials confirmed that Stevens and the others were fleeing the consulate when a rocket-propelled grenade struck their vehicle.
Al-Jazeera’s correspondent in Benghazi said the bodies of the dead had been taken to the Benghazi airport.
Stevens, a longtime Middle East hand in the State Department, was named ambassador to Libya in May. He had worked in Libya for a number of years, both before and after the fall of slain Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. The other dead were not identified in reports by Reuters, CNN, al-Jazeera and others.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed late Tuesday that “one of our State Department officers was killed,” but did not identify the victim.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi,” Clinton said in an earlier statement. She said she had called Libyan President Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf “to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya.”
The violence in Benghazi followed protests in neighboring Egypt, where a group of protesters scaled the wall of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday evening and entered its outer grounds, pulled down an American flag, then tried to burn it outside the embassy walls, according to witnesses. On Wednesday morning, a sit-in of several dozen protesters continued outside the Cairo embassy.
From his bio at the State Department:
Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. He arrived in Tripoli in May 2012 as U.S. Ambassador to Libya. Ambassador Stevens served twice previously in Libya. He served as Special Representative to the Libyan Transitional National Council from March 2011 to November 2011 during the Libyan revolution and as the Deputy Chief of Mission from 2007 to 2009.
Other overseas assignments include: Deputy Principal officer and Political Section Chief in Jerusalem; political officer in Damascus; consular/political officer in Cairo; and consular/economic officer in Riyadh. In Washington, Ambassador Stevens served as Director of the Office of Multilateral Nuclear and Security Affairs; Pearson Fellow with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; special assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs; Iran desk officer; and staff assistant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1991, Ambassador Stevens was an international trade lawyer in Washington, DC. From 1983 to 1985 he taught English as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco.
He was born and raised in northern California. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of California at Berkeley in 1982, a J.D. from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law in 1989, and an M.S. from the National War College in 2010. He speaks Arabic and French.