Video timeline of the Middle East crisis

Watch the video that sparked the protests, and the U.S. response [UPDATED]

Published September 12, 2012 4:10PM (EDT)

U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were confirmed killed in rocket attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The attacks came after an anti-Islamic film of allegedly American origin fueled angry protests in Egypt and Libya.

A trailer from the film in question mockingly depicts an actor playing the Prophet Muhammad, and refers to a donkey as “the first Muslim animal.” Via YouTube.

Protests began to break out in Cairo, as demonstrators scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy:

Violent protesters in Benghazi, Libya, also attacked the U.S. consulate, resulting in the death of Stevens and three other Americans:

Tuesday night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attacks in the strongest possible terms:




This morning President Obama said: “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants."

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney doubled down on his comments that the administration's response to the crisis was "disgraceful":

Update: In an interview with CBS News, President Obama responded to Romney's attacks with a jab: "Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. And as president, one of the things I've learned is you can't do that."

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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Barack Obama Christopher Stevens Egypt Hillary Clinton Libya Mitt Romney