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United States Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens was killed along with three of his staff members Tuesday night amidst an attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi.

President Obama addressed the attack alongside Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton in a televised statement from the White House Rose Garden.

“These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity,” said Obama.  “Make no mistake: we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.”

Obama also praised the Libyan government, citing the Libyan security forces that helped fight the mob, protect American diplomats and take Stevens’ body to a hospital.

“This attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya,” said Obama.

Tuesday’s attack was initially attributed to outrage over a 14-minute trailer for an American-made film entitled “Innocence of Muslims,” that was released online.  However, The New York Times recently reported that the Obama administration suspects the attack may have been planned rather than a spontaneous act of mob violence.

Neither Obama nor Clinton disclosed details of the attack and several contradictory reports make it difficult to determine exactly how Stevens or the other victims had died.

An unidentified Libyan official in Benghazi told Reuters that Stevens and three staff members were killed “when gunmen fired rockets at them.”  The official stated the ambassador was being driven from the consulate building to a safe location when gunmen opened fire.  Agence France-Presse, however, quoted the Libyan Interior Ministry as saying that Stevens died of smoke inhalation after the mob set fire to the consulate building.

For more information, read the full article from The Times here.

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