Updated 09/12/2012 10:04 AM
Libya doctor: US ambassador died of asphyxia
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Update -- TRIPOLI, Libya - The Libyan doctor who treated U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens says the diplomat died of severe asphyxiation and that he tried for 90 minutes to revive him.
Ziad Abu Zeid told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Stevens was brought to the Benghazi Medical Center by Libyans the night before, with no other Americans and that initially no one realized he was the ambassador.
Photo courtesy U.S. Department of State
Abu Zeid said Stevens had "severe asphyxia," apparently from smoke inhalation, causing stomach bleeding, but had no other injuries.
Stevens and three American security guards died when the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi came under attack from a mob angry over an anti-Islam film made in the U.S. The crowd fired guns and rocket-propelled grenades and set fire to the consulate.
Earlier -- WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama has condemned attacks that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three American members of his staff.
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed as they tried to evacuate staff while armed protesters attacked the compound. They were angry over a film which ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad.
The attacks occurred Tuesday night in the eastern city of Benghazi. Ambassador Stevens was killed when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as the building came under attack by a mob guns and rocket propelled grenades.
In a statement, Obama said he ordered “all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe.”
Obama said: “I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi.” The four Americans “exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe.”
Stevens spent the last two decades in foreign service. He was a career diplomat who spoke Arabic and French and had already served two tours in Libya. He wrote several confidential cables back to Washington, describing Moammar Gadhafi's bizarre behavior.
Stevens was confirmed as ambassador to Libya by the Senate earlier this year.
His State Department biography, posted on the website of the U.S. Embassy to Libya, says Stevens “considers himself fortunate to participate in this incredible period of change and hope for Libya.”
“I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. 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.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.”
"It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the death of four American personnel in Benghazi, Libya yesterday. Among them were United States Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and Foreign Service Information Management Officer, Sean Smith. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals. Our hearts go out to all their families and colleagues.
A 21 year veteran of the Foreign Service, Ambassador Stevens died last night from injuries he sustained in the attack on our office in Benghazi.
I had the privilege of swearing in Chris for his post in Libya only a few months ago. He spoke eloquently about his passion for service, for diplomacy and for the Libyan people. This assignment was only the latest in his more than two decades of dedication to advancing closer ties with the people of the Middle East and North Africa which began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. As the conflict in Libya unfolded, Chris was one of the first Americans on the ground in Benghazi. He risked his own life to lend the Libyan people a helping hand to build the foundation for a new, free nation. He spent every day since helping to finish the work that he started. Chris was committed to advancing America’s values and interests, even when that meant putting himself in danger.
Sean Smith was a husband and a father of two, who joined the Department ten years ago. Like Chris, Sean was one of our best. Prior to arriving in Benghazi, he served in Baghdad, Pretoria, Montreal, and most recently The Hague.
All the Americans we lost in yesterday’s attacks made the ultimate sacrifice. We condemn this vicious and violent attack that took their lives, which they had committed to helping the Libyan people reach for a better future.
America’s diplomats and development experts stand on the front lines every day for our country. We are honored by the service of each and every one of them."
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