US Withdraws Sudan, Tunisia Diplomats over Film Protests

World | September 16, 2012, Sunday // 11:17|  views

An angry mob in the capital of Sudan, Khartoum managed to set fire at the German Embassy and stormed the embassies of Britain and the US. Photo by EPA / BGNES

The US has ordered all non-essential diplomatic staff and their families to leave Sudan and Tunisia.

The information comes from the official statement of the US State Department, cited Sunday by BBC.

Americans are further warned to postpone all travel to Tunisia, after two people lost their lives during attacks on the US Embassy and a neighboring American school. Those who are in the country are urged to leave, use extreme caution, and avoid demonstrations.

The US embassies in the Tunisian and Sudanese capitals have both been attacked in the wave of anti-US protests in the Muslim world over a film offensively depicting Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

BBC further reports that Sudan has refused to allow the US to send Marines to protect its Embassy on grounds Sudanese security forces were capable of providing protection.

Three people were killed when the US embassy was attacked in Khartoum on Friday. The German and UK missions were also attacked by protesters.

The Canadian government is closing its embassies in Sudan, Libya and Egypt for the day Sunday as a precautionary measure.

On Tuesday, an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, said to be triggered by the film, killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens, 3 other officers, and several Libyans. Stevens is believed to have died from smoke inhalation.

Several other people have been killed across the Middle East and North Africa since the protests over the film erupted.

The US and Canadian alerts were prompted by calls for fresh attacks against Western embassies, coming from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said in an interview with BBC Arabic that the US must do all it can to stop people insulting Islam, stressing it was "unacceptable to insult our Prophet" but also not right for peaceful protests to turn violent.

Meanwhile, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Christian Copt, and the man suspected of being involved in the making of the film has been questioned by US investigators over whether he has broken the terms of his probation for a previous fraud conviction.

However, the right to freedom of speech from the first amendment of the American constitution and while the video has been widely condemned in the US, the filmmakers are not believed to have committed any punishable crime, the BBC's Alistair Leithead in Los Angeles reports.

Nakoula was released by police after questioning.

The low-budget film, titled "The Innocence of Muslims" portrays Prophet Muhammad as a religious cheat and a womanizer. It depicts an imaginary attack of Muslims on a Christian family. The film also contains hints of pedophilia and homosexuality.

Any portrayal of the Prophet is considered blasphemous to Muslims. The protests flared only after the trailer was aired in Arabic.

Angry riots erupted in several other countries including Yemen, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and Belgium.

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