Entries in U.S. Embassy (13)


State Department Shuts Down Embassy in Central African Republic

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department announced on Thursday it temporarily closed the U.S. Embassy in the capital of Bangui, in the Central African Republic.  

According to a statement by State Department Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell, "The U.S. Embassy in Bangui temporarily suspended its operations on December 28 as a result of the present security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR).  We have not suspended diplomatic relations with the Central African Republic."

Ambassador Wohlers and all staff have left the country, and the State Department is warning American citizens not to travel to the country due to violence in the capital city.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Protests Erupt at US Embassies in Yemen and Egypt

MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/GettyImages(SANAA, Yemen) -- Outrage over the anti-Muslim film Innocence of Muslims spread across the Middle East on Thursday as protesters rushed the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen, while further demonstrations began outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.

Protesters in Sana'a managed to breach the area past the main gate at the U.S. Embassy, but were stopped at the security perimeter.

"Smoke is rising, they just flooded the security barriers.  [There are] no casualties.  [There is] shooting.  It's crazy," a Yemeni official told ABC News.

Tear gas was being thrown by Yemeni forces as protesters were seen scrambling over fences and over the main gate.  Gunshots were fired into the air by Yemeni forces to stop the demonstrators.

According to a U.S. embassy spokesman in Yemen, all personnel are safe.

"Initial reports are that all Embassy personnel are safe and accounted for," the spokesman said early Thursday.

A senior official on the Obama administration said that the Yemeni government has aided the U.S. in maintaining order.

"We are doing everything we can to support our mission in Yemen.  We've had good cooperation from the Yemeni government which is working with us to maintain order and protect our facilities and people.  These protests appear to be motivated by the film," the official said.

The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington, D.C., released a statement condemning the attacks.

"The Government of Yemen condemns any and all acts of violence against diplomatic personnel and facilities.  We strongly urge all those that would wish to incite others to violence to cease immediately," the embassy said, adding that order had been restored.

In Egypt, the protests outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo turned violent again Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.  Security forces had to fight off the protesters with tear gas and warning shots, which managed to push the crowds back more than 600 feet to Tahrir Square.

Meanwhile, U.S. Navy forces have moved two missile destroyers off the coast of Libya as an extra precaution for increased security from Libyan extremists after the attacks that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday.

All U.S. interests across the region are in a heightened state of alert, particularly now that the government believes the assault in Benghazi was a coordinated terrorist attack planned specifically for the 11th anniversary of 9/11, and not the result of anger over the anti-Muslim film that is being blamed for sparking the protest in Cairo.

It is still unclear exactly who the attackers in Benghazi were, but President Obama said Wednesday night at a campaign rally in Las Vegas that he is committed to justice and working with the Libyan government to track down the attackers responsible for the consulate deaths.

"I want to assure you we will bring their killers to justice and we want to send us a message all around the world to anyone who wants to do us harm.  No act of terror will dim the light and the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America," Obama said.

The Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, is now at emergency staffing levels.  All non-essential employees have been ordered to leave.

The attack on the consulate in Benghazi Tuesday came shortly after protesters in Cairo scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy and tore down the American flag in an angry demonstration against the film Innocence of Muslims, which depicts the founder of Islam, Muhammad, as a fraud and a womanizer.

Obama addressed the United States' relationship with Egypt on Wednesday night in an interview with Telemundo.  "I don't think that we would consider them [Egypt] an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy," Obama said.

Obama instead characterized the relationship with Egypt as a "work in progress," expressing hope that the fledgling Egyptian government would be "responsive" to U.S. security concerns.

Egypt's embassy, along with embassies located in Armenia, Burundi, Kuwait, Sudan, Tunisia and Zambia, all issued warnings on Wednesday, advising Americans to be particularly vigilant.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Car Bomber Attacks US Consulate Vehicle in Pakistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A suicide bomber rammed a vehicle filled with explosives into a U.S. Consulate SUV in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring as many as 19 others.

There were conflicting reports of the casualties. The information minister of Khyber Pukhtookhwa province said that two U.S. nationals were killed in the attack, but a statement from the U.S. Embassy said that "two U.S. personnel and two Pakistani staff of the Consulate were injured" and that "no consulate personnel were killed."

It was around 9 a.m. when the white car barged its way into the convoy guarding the US government vehicle. Shortly after, there was an explosion, a large plume of smoke and the smell of explosives filled the air, witnesses told ABC News.

Rehmat Ali, a passerby, said that he fell to the ground when the explosion happened and "when I gained senses and looked around I saw some people lying on the road and a vehicle on fire."

Scenes like this one is not new to Peshawar, which has been scarred by such attacks for decades.

In August 2008, then U.S. Consul General Lynne Tracy, along with two other consular employees, were attacked by a car bomber as their armored jeep left her house for her office located in Peshawar's safest locality. The occupants of the vehicle escaped injury.

And then again in May 2011 two armored vehicles belonging to the U.S. consulate were hit by a roadside bomb, wounding two American nationals.

All attacks including Monday's happened in the same locality which is considered relatively safe.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mexican Federal Police Open Fire on Two U.S. Government Workers

Thinkstock/Comstock(MEXICO CITY) -- Two U.S. government employees were shot Friday an incident involving the Mexican federal police.  The two Americans were riding in an armored U.S. embassy SUV when they came under fire south of Mexico City.

Mexican police have released a statement in Spanish that has been translated into English:

"At 8 a.m. this morning, a U.S. embassy car with people front he U.S. embassy and one Mexican marine went off the road.  A Mexican federal police car pulled beside them and showed they were armed. This alarmed [those riding in the] U.S. embassy vehicle and they drove off, causing the Mexican federal police to open fire because they thought they acted suspiciously," the statement said.

The U.S. embassy vehicle was reportedly riddled with more than 30 bullets.

The two wounded U.S. embassy personnel were taken to a hospital in Cuernavaca and are in stable condition, The Washington Post reports.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Abby Huntsman: Romney’s Chen Guangcheng Criticism Was ‘Very Foolish’

Ray Tamarra/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Abby Huntsman Livingston, daughter of the former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, waded into the controversy surrounding the Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng Friday, lambasting both President Obama and Mitt Romney for how they have handled the sensitive diplomatic issue.

Drawing from her experiences living at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, where Huntsman served as the ambassador to China for a year, Livingston said it was “inconceivable” that the United States would allow Chen to leave the embassy, where he sought refuge after escaping from house arrest.

“I spent a year living there and I can tell you from my experience there is no way Mr. Chen or his family would be safe,” Livingston, who is currently serving as a spokesperson for her father, told MSNBC’s Martin Bashir on Friday, adding that the United States should have taken measures to ensure the safety of both Chen and his family.

Livingston’s criticism stopped short of the attacks presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney launched at Obama over the incident on Thursday.

Romney, whom Jon Huntsman has endorsed, tore into the Obama administration for allegedly urging Chen to leave the embassy.

“If these reports are true, this is a dark day for freedom and it’s a day of shame for the Obama administration,” Romney told a crowd of supporters in Virginia on Thursday morning. “We are a place of freedom here and around the world and we should stand up and defend freedom wherever it is under attack.”

The current U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke, denied the accusation, saying Thursday that Chen “was never pressured to leave.”

Livingston dubbed Romney “very foolish” for wading into diplomatic issues such as this, especially when “he really didn’t have really any facts yesterday about what was going on.”

“What happens in the U.S. embassy in China should be within the hands of the officials on the ground and the State Department,” Livingston said. “It should not be a political issue here in the U.S.”

Abby Huntsman Livingston’s criticism of Romney is reminiscent of her father’s criticism of the former Massachusetts governor four months ago. Then, Huntsman blasted Romney for trying to “start a trade war” by proposing to increase tariffs on goods imported from the Asian nation. Romney, in turn, criticized Huntsman for serving in the Obama administration, “implementing the policy of this administration in China.”

Even after dropping out of the presidential race and endorsing Romney, Huntsman continued to condemn Romney’s policies on China.

In a February interview on MSNBC, Huntsman said the presumptive GOP nominee’s rhetoric toward China “pushes aside the reality, the complexity of the relationship” between America and the Asian nation.

“You sit down at the table with somebody like Xi Jinping, and you say, We’ve got North Korea. We’ve got Iran. We’ve got Pakistan, We’ve got Burma. We’ve got the South China Sea. We have trade and investment, and they all kind of interrelate one with another when you sit down and negotiate a deal,” Huntsman said in the February interview. “That’s just the way the U.S.-China relationship is and has been for 40 years.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gunman Opens Fire Outside US Embassy in Sarajevo

Comstock/Thinkstock(SARAJEVO, Bosnia) -- The U.S. embassy in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo was locked down Friday, after shots were fired outside the building, injuring at least two officers.

The gunman, identified by Bosnian media as 23-year-old Serbian Mevlid Jasarevic, is a suspected radical Islamist, according to Britain's Daily Mail. Photos of Jasarevic show him clenching an AK-47-style assualt rifle and shooting at random civilians and police.

The Bosnian president reportedly believes the shooting spree to be an act of terrorism.

Police sharpshooters shot and wounded Jaserevic, who was arrested on site.  After being treated on the scene, he was hospitalized.
The area has been sealed off and a search is underway for any possible accomplices.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


American Flag Raised over US Embassy in Tripoli

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- The American embassy in Tripoli officially re-opened Thursday, nearly seven months after it was shuttered as fighting intensified in Libya and just hours before the Obama administration slapped sanctions on the Gadhafi regime.

U.S. Ambassador Gene Cretz returned to Libya Wednesday for the first time since he left the country in January after a spat with the Libyan government when WikiLeaks released some of his cables critical of the Gadhafi government.

The U.S. embassy is working out of a temporary location after its compound was ransacked and burned by a pro-Gadhafi mob in May. Video from inside the compound showed debris littering the charred hallways of some embassy buildings.

American diplomats had been operating out of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi for several months before the capital fell under control of the rebels. The first U.S. diplomats returned to the Libyan capital earlier this month along with a team of experts and military advisers who are working to assess whether the embassy compound can be salvaged.

The United States never severed diplomatic relations with Libya when the embassy was closed in February, but did kick out any Libyan diplomats still loyal to Gadhafi.

Longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has fled the capital but has yet to be found.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Muslim Protesters Burn American Flag Outside US Embassy in London

Photodisc​/Thinkstoc​k(LONDON) -- Protesters set fire to an American flag outside the U.S. Embassy in London Sunday  during a minute of silence to commemorate the moment the first hijacked plane crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Among the protesters in Grosvenor Square were members of the group Muslims Against Crusades (MAC). They shouted “USA terrorists” and held signs that read “Islam Will Dominate the World.”

“You will always face suffering, you will always face humiliation, unless you withdraw your troops from Muslim lands,” said one protester in a speech, according to multiple reports.

A smaller counter-demonstration was held nearby, with protesters holding signs reading “Muslims Against Extremism” and “If You Want Sharia, Move To Saudi.”

“I’m a Muslim. What they’re doing is bringing shame on all Muslims. This is not part of the teachings of Islam,” said Abdul Sallam, 41, who was waving a sign that read “Keep The Silence,” according to multiple reports. “Islam is all about peace, but what they want to do is hate other people. Islam teaches you that when you see anything bad or evil, you should speak out against it. If the moderate Muslims all came out and spoke out, that would defeat them.”

Earlier, a group of 60 protesters from the English Defense League (EDL), a far-right movement against Islamic extremism in England, were asked by police to move to make room for the anti-American protestors in Grosvenor Square. But the protesters did not go quietly.

EDL supporters threw glass bottles at the MAC protesters as police tried to disperse the group to prevent a confrontation, according to ITN. Twenty people were arrested for breaching the peace.

Later, as police struggled to move the MAC protesters towards the Central London Mosque in Regents Park, they arrested another four people.

One man spit at a photographer who was snapping a picture of him in the arms of policemen.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


American Abducted in Pakistan Doyle/Thinkstock(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- An American citizen was abducted by gunmen Saturday from his house in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

BBC News reports that the man, identified by the U.S. embassy as Warren Weinstein, was taken from his home by eight kidnappers who attacked his house in the early morning hours.

Weinstein was living in Pakistan for seven years and was due to return to the U.S. on Aug. 15.

U.S. embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez announced that the organization is working closely with Pakistani authorities on the case.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Suspect in U.S. Embassy Bombings Killed

Federal Bureau of Investigation(MOGADISHU, Somalia) -- Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, who is alleged to have been involved in the bombings of two U.S. Embassies in 1998, was killed in Somalia on June7.

Fazul was reportedly killed during a shootout with Somalia forces at a Mogadishu checkpoint.

Fazul was indicted for his alleged involvement in the bombings of U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, on August 7, 1998.

"We commend the good work by the TFG (Transitional Federal Government)," a senior U.S. official told ABC News. "Fazul's death removes one of the terrorist group's most experienced operational planners in East Africa and has almost certainly set back operations."

One Somali government source told ABC News that the government had handed over Fazul's body to the U.S. for identification following the deadly shooting.

Fazul was listed as one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, and had a $5 million reward being offered for his capture.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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