Yemeni police today shot dead four protesters and wounded 34 others when they opened fire on a crowd attempting to storm the US embassy in Sanaa to protest an anti-Islam film, a security official said.
The White House, meanwhile, said it was doing everything it could to protect its diplomats in Yemen, where witnesses reported that roads leading to the embassy were closed down as the area was calm later in the evening.
“Four people were killed and 34 others were wounded in the clashes that lasted from morning until late in the evening” in the area around the US embassy in Sanaa, the official said, adding that eight of them were “seriously injured.”
Witnesses said that police forces fired live rounds of tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters as troops were deployed on rooftops of buildings surrounding the mission.
Earlier in the day, a security official said Yemeni police shot dead a protester in confrontations outside the embassy, shortly after ejecting crowds that stormed the mission’s compound.
The shooting came as protesters, chanting “O, messenger of Allah... O, Mohammed,” launched a second charge on the complex which they had stormed earlier but were ejected by the security forces.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said “we are doing everything we can to protect safety and security of personnel,” adding that Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi had pledged his government would not tolerate violence.
The State Department said all of the US staff at the embassy in Yemen were safe.
Hadi apologised to his US counterpart Barack Obama and the American people for the acts of a “mob” and ordered a probe.
“Those who are behind (the attack) are a mob that are not aware of the far-reaching plots of Zionist forces, especially those who made a film insulting the prophet,” said Hadi.