Anti-American fury sweeps Middle East over film

Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:09pm EDT
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Three died, too, in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, state radio said, while there were also deaths in Cairo and in Lebanon.

As U.S. military drones faced Islamist anti-aircraft fire over Benghazi, about 50 marines landed in Yemen a day after the U.S. embassy there was stormed. For a second day in the capital Sanaa, police battled hundreds of young men around the mission. Washington also sent Marines to reinforce security at its embassy in Sudan.

Egypt's new Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, condemned a third day of stone-throwing and siege around the U.S. embassy in Cairo, a linchpin of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Mursi must tread a line between appealing to an electorate receptive to the appeal of more hardline Islamists and maintaining ties with Washington, which long funded the ousted military dictatorship.


In Khartoum, wider anger at Western attitudes to Islam also saw the German embassy overrun, with police doing little to stop demonstrators who raised a black Islamist flag. Violence at the U.S. embassy followed protests against both Washington and the Sudanese government, which is broadly at odds with the West.

The wave of indignation and rage over the film, which portrays Mohammad as a womanizer and a fool, coincided with Pope Benedict's arrival in Lebanon for a three-day visit to a region still in the throes of upheaval and with Christian minorities fearful of the rise of political Islam from Egypt to Syria.

"We were attacked by Obama, and his government, and the Coptic Christians living abroad!" shouted one long-bearded Muslim protester during the Cairo stand-off with police ringing the U.S. embassy. The involvement of a prominent Egyptian-American Christian in promoting the film has caused anger and worry among Christian leaders in Egypt, who condemned the film.

In the restive Sinai peninsula, militants attacked an international military observer base close to the Israeli border, a witness and a security source said. Two Colombian soldiers were wounded, an official from the observer force said.

Libya closed its airspace around Benghazi airport for a time because of heavy anti-aircraft fire by Islamists aiming at U.S. reconnaissance drones flying over the city; Obama, who has sent two warships to the Libyan coast this week, has vowed to bring the killers of ambassador Christopher Stevens to justice.   Continued...

Protesters burn a U.S. flag during a protest against a film produced in the U.S. that they said that was insulting to the Prophet Mohammad in Istanbul September 14, 2012. REUTERS/Osman Orsal