The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other American diplomats were killed when suspected Libyan religious extremists stormed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi late Tuesday, sparking a security crisis across the North African country and raising tensions across the Middle East.
The circumstances surrounding the death of Ambassador Stevens weren’t immediately clear. Two Libyan security officials in the capital Tripoli gave conflicting reports of the events that occurred several hundred miles away on the east side of the country. One said that the ambassador’s convoy had been hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Another said that the diplomats died of smoke inhalation.
The news of the killings broke as Americans were waking up Wednesday, and there was little immediate reaction from Washington except to lament the loss of life and announce greater security measures for all U.S. diplomatic facilities worldwide.