US embassies step up security after Libya attack-A A +A
Thursday, September 13, 2012
MANILA -- Security was increased at US embassies and consulates in the Philippines and around the world, and at least one cemetery for American veterans, on Thursday following an attack that killed the US ambassador in Libya.
Guards and police special forces were seen carrying assault rifles outside the US Embassy in the Philippine capital. Embassy guards gestured to a photographer to stop taking pictures.
Diplomats had asked for additional police personnel and patrols for the season compound and a nearby residential complex, as well as the consulate in Cebu City, ahead of the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US.
Officials said the heightened security will be maintained indefinitely following the attack on the US consulate in Libya that killed American ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other US citizens.
President Barack Obama ordered increased security at American missions around the world after the killings and angry protests outside the US Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.
In Malaysia, a US Embassy official said it was not the embassy's policy to comment on its security measures. But the embassy said in an advisory on its website that "based on recent events in Cairo and Benghazi, there is the possibility of demonstrations taking place in Kuala Lumpur."
The embassy said it had no information about any planned demonstrations but noted that in the past, such gatherings could occur near the embassy on Fridays.
It advised US citizens in Malaysia to "exercise general caution, be aware of their surroundings, and avoid large crowds or gatherings."
In Manila, traffic was busy as usual on a boulevard in front of the embassy's main entrance.
A police pickup truck with a machine gun mounted on the back was parked under a tree, and Philippine Coast Guard vessels patrolled Manila Bay around the embassy.
Police patrols were also intensified in other US facilities, including the American cemetery in the Philippine capital.
"President Obama yesterday (Thursday) directed an increase in security at diplomatic posts around the world, and this includes our embassy here in Manila," said embassy spokeswoman Tina Malone.
Americans flags were lowered at half-staff as US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. mourned the loss of the American diplomats in Libya.
"We will do our best to honor and carry forward their memory and their service," he said in a statement.
Malacañang, for its part, condemned the attack in Libya.
“They cover the international law. We condemn any violence on any person especially the ambassador, so it’s something that we are certainly concerned with,” said Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.
He said that based on the information received by the Palace from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), no Filipino was killed or hurt in the incident in Benghazi.
Stevens and the other Americans were killed after Islamist mob attacked the US consulate and a safe house refuge in Benghazi on Tuesday night.
The attackers were blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.
As violence erupts in Libya, another assault was mounted on the US embassy in Cairo. Protesters including Islamists tore down and burned a US flag.
US President Barack Obama called the killing of Stevens and three other Americans an “outrageous attack.”
He vowed to hunt down the perpetrators of the incident and ordered carrying out tighter security measures to all US diplomatic missions worldwide. (AP/PNA/Sunnex)