Egyptian mob storms US Embassy, destroys American flag on 9/11 anniversary
A mob of protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy compound in Cairo and tore down its American flag on Tuesday, replacing it with a black flag commonly associated with Islamic terrorists.
The protesters were angered by a film that allegedly insults Muhammad, and attempted to raise a flag with the message “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger,” Reuters reports. Muhammad is the prophet of Islam.
Warning shots were fired, but no one was injured.
The Associated Press reports that no embassy personnel were inside the compound at the time. Tuesday was the eleventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed over 3,000 Americans. (SEE ALSO: U.S. negotiating $1B aid deal with Egypt)
The name of the offending film was not mentioned, but demonstrators chanted anti-American slogans and held up shredded pieces of the American flag.
The U.S. Embassy said in a statement that it “condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
“Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy,” the statement read. “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”
Late Tuesday, a senior administration official told Politico that the embassy’s statement was not approved by the White House.
“The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government,” a senior administration official told POLITICO.