Anti-American anger that has boiled over at US embassies in more than a dozen countries could still spread further, officials have warned.
The anger originated from a crudely made anti-Islamic film produced in the United States, Innocence of Muslims. The film’s release on YouTube stirred anger in several countries, with protesters in Egypt and Libya forming around embassies. In Libya a terrorist group used the confusion to attack and kill four US diplomats, including ambassador Chris Stevens.
In the US, officials worried that the anti-American anger could continue to spread, and that extremist groups could use the situation to recruit others to their cause, CNN reported.
“The risk of violence could increase both at home and abroad as the film continues to gain attention,” the US Department of Homeland Security and FBI warned Thursday in a joint intelligence bulletin. “Additionally, we judge that violent extremist groups in the United States could exploit anger over the film to advance their recruitment efforts.”
In Egypt, anti-American anger led to a fourth day of protests, with people gathering to throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at the US embassy. Police had to use tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Those protests have given way to other anti-American anger in dozens of other cities around the globe, UPI reported. About 2,000 people gathered outside a mosque in the city of Jos, with police firing warning shots to try to break the crowd up.
Many cities saw demonstrations on a smaller scale. In London a group of about 15o demonstrators burned American and Israeli flags, AFP noted.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on leaders in the Middle East to quell the violence in their countries, saying people in those nations “did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob.”
“We will wipe away our tears, stiffen our spine and face the future undaunted,” she said.
An unidentified Obama administration official told CNN that security personnel were in place at diplomatic posts throughout the Middle East to stop the anti-American anger. The official noted that the US is in “a full-court press at every single one of the posts in the Middle East and anywhere else there is any chance of demonstrations… to make sure nothing bad happens — and to have the security in place in case bad things do happen.”