Updated: September 12, 2012 | 10:50 a.m.
September 12, 2012 | 10:03 a.m.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday condemned "in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence" that resulted in the killing of American Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya.
She appeared at the State Department shortly before President Obama is to address the tragedy as well at the White House. Earlier, Republican Mitt Romney had criticized the White House for its handling of the situation.
The Americans were targeted in an attack in their car, trying to move to a safer venue away from the violent protests that erupted at the U.S. Consulate, Reuters reported. Stevens died of suffocation, while the three other personnel were killed by gunshot wounds, CBS News reports.
“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” Clinton said. “America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear. There is no justification for this. None.”
Clinton said she, like many Americans, questioned how such an attack could have happened "in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction."
Still, Clinton said Americans must be "clear eyed" about the mission that will continue in Libya and blamed the attack on a "small and savage" group. "Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post. Some were wounded. Libyans carried Chris's body to the hospital and they helped rescue and lead other Americans to safety." Clinton said Libyan President Mohammed Yussef Magariaf also condemned the violence and promised to help pursue those responsible.
Clinton said the friendship between the two countries would not become "another casualty of this attack."
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