Violent protests across Middle East target embassies, Pope visit to Lebanon

Published September 14, 2012

| FoxNews.com

Anti-American violence flared Friday across North Africa and the Middle East, with Muslim mobs reportedly scaling the walls of the U.S. Embassies in Tunisia and Sudan, breaking windows and setting fires.

A Marine team, meanwhile, was on the ground in Yemen Friday as a "precautionary measure" in the wake of violence and protests in the capital city of Sanaa, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed to Fox News. A Marine fast team is en route to Khartoum, Sudan to help secure the U.S. Embassy. 

Protesters reportedly broke into the German Embassy in Sudan -- pulling down its emblem and raising the Islamic flag -- and demonstrators in Lebanon burned Kentucky Fried Chicken and Arby's restaurants while chanting against the pope's visit to Lebanon.

At least one protester was killed and 25 were injured in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli after clashes between police and protesters over an anti-Islam film, security officials said. 

In Sinai, militants attacked an international observer base close to the borders of Israel and Gaza.
Two Colombian soldiers were wounded and were taken to hospital in Southern Israeli town of Beer Sheva.

In Egypt protesters in Ciaro's Tahrir Square could be seen carrying a 4-foot-tall poster of Usama bin Laden, and graffiti reportedly found on the U.S. Embassy there read: "Take care America. We have 1.5 billion bin Ladens."

In Sudan, gunfire could be heard as protesters broke through a barrier protecting the U.S. Embassy outside Khartoum, according to eye witness accounts. 

In Tunisia, meanwhile, protesters jumped over a wall surrounding the U.S. Embassy there, breaking windows inside the embassy and setting trees on fire. An eye witness told Fox News that police officers were firing tear gas at protesters, while flames could be seen shooting out of the embassy compound. It's not known whether anyone is inside the building. Protesters also set fire to an American school in Tunis, Reuters reported.   

Thousands of protesters in Cairo demonstrated blocks away from the U.S. Embassy on Friday, as the president went on state TV and appealed to Muslims to protect embassies, trying to patch up strained relations with the United States.

The protesters, who gathered after weekly Muslim Friday prayers, tore up an American flag and waved a black, Islamist flag through the streets. When protesters tried to move toward the embassy, they were confronted by lines of police who fired tear gas.

"With our soul, our blood, we will avenge you, our Prophet," they chanted.

Ahead of the clashes, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi spoke for more than seven minutes on state TV, his most direct public move to contain protests since an angry crowd assaulted the embassy Tuesday night, scaling its walls and tearing down the American flag.

"It is required by our religion to protect our guests and their homes and places of work," Morsi said. "So I call on all to consider this, consider the law, and not attack embassies, consulates, diplomatic missions or Egyptian property that is private or public."

He denounced the killing of American ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, who died in an attack Tuesday night on the U.S. Consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi along with three other Americans.

"This is something we reject and Islam rejects. To God, the attack on a person to Allah is bigger an attack on the Kaaba," he said, referring to Islam's holiest site in Mecca.

The region is bracing itself for more protests after traditional mid-day Friday prayers over the anti-Islam film produced in the United States called "Innocence of Muslims." The movie ridicules the Prophet Muhammad, portraying him as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester.

Morsi's own Muslim Brotherhood group has called for peaceful protests to denounce the film.

A firebrand cleric with the beard of a Salafi Muslim, known for their ultraconservative views, blasted the film and in his sermon in Cairo's Tahrir Square said it was upon Muslims to defend Islam and its prophet.

Protesters have been clashing in Cairo with police since the unrest Tuesday night. More than 240 people have been injured in the clashes, including a number of policemen, and 31 people have been arrested.

In Sudan, a prominent sheikh urged people on state radio to protest outside the main mosque in Khartoum. Sheikh Mohammed Jizouly said protesters would then move to the German Embassy in the city center to protest alleged anti-Muslim scrawling on mosques in Berlin and then to the US embassy, just outside the capital, to protest the film.

"America has long been an enemy to Islam and to Sudan," Jizouly said.

In Israel, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police have boosted the number of officers patrolling east Jerusalem and Jerusalem's old city to thwart potentially violent protests following Muslim prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site.

Protesters are expected to march to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.

A small, peaceful demonstration was held Friday outside the U.S. Embassy in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

A prominent cleric in Indonesia has urged Muslims there to remain calm despite their anger about the film. But Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, a branch of the international network that advocates a worldwide Islamic state, on its website blamed the U.S. government for allowing the film to be produced and released, calling it "an act of barbarism that cannot go unpunished."

Meanwhile, a Libyan airport official said all flights to and from the eastern city of Benghazi were canceled due to security concerns. The airport official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

Benghazi is where the attack on the U.S. consulate took place Tuesday.

Click for the latest updates from the State Department on Twitter.

Fox News' Leland Vittert, Catherine Herridge and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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