Islamists Kill U.S. Ambassador to Libya

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three of his American staff members were killed on Tuesday during an attack on the U.S. Consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi. The attack was coordinated by protesters angry about a film that ridiculed the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

Ambassador Chris Stevens and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate Tuesday night to try to evacuate staff after the facility came under attack by a mob armed with rocket-propelled grenades and guns. The mob set the building on fire, forcing the Americans to choose between the attackers outside or the fire inside. Stevens and the others who died had tried to escape to the roof of the consulate, and succumbed to smoke inhalation.

While some reports said Libyan security did little to stop the vicious mob, others say that some Libyan security officials were killed trying to quell the violence. Despite many claims to the contrary, the heavy weaponry wielded by the protesters, and the date of the event—September 11—indicate that the attacks were planned rather than a spontaneous mob getting out of control

It is profoundly significant that just a few hours before the attack in Libya, 2,000 Islamist protesters in Egypt marched to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. They gathered outside its walls, and chanted against the anti-Islam message in same film the Libyan protesters decried. Dozens of protesters scaled the embassy walls, and replaced an American flag with an Islamic one. Most of the embassy staff had evacuated the building earlier, after having been warned of the approaching protesters.

On Sunday, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said it would be Egypt’s influence that would sweep Libya into the radical Islamic camp. “Iran and Egypt are going to have a great deal to do with sweeping Libya and Ethiopia along into that radical Islamic camp,” he said (“Daniel 11:42 & 43 Now Fulfilled”).

Just days after Mr. Flurry made this statement, Egyptian protests triggered Libyan protests, which resulted in the death of a U.S. ambassador. The death of an ambassador is no routine act of violence. An ambassador is a diplomatic official of the highest rank sent by a nation to represent that nation. To kill a man in this office is among the most belligerent statements against the nation he represents that a host country could make. The last time an American ambassador was murdered was 1979, when the envoy to Afghanistan was kidnapped and killed during a rescue effort.

The significance of Mr. Flurry’s forecast cannot be overstated. The attacks in both Egypt and Libya were the first of such assaults on U.S. diplomatic facilities in either country. They come at a time when both Egypt and Libya are charting new directions after the ouster of their long-time leaders, Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Qadhafi, in uprisings last year. Egypt’s new direction as a radical anti-American Islamist force is now inescapably clear. And, exactly as Mr. Flurry forecast on Sunday, Egypt’s Islamist fervor is sweeping Libya in the same direction.

To understand the significance of yesterday’s attacks, read Trumpet columnist Joel Hilliker’s analysis, “Attacks in Libya, Egypt Confirm Iran Link.”