Here is the transcript of the video clip above. It's from an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera that Libyan Interim President Al-Magariaf gave today.
Al-Magariaf: It's clear from the timing, on Sept 11th, and from the detailed planning of the attacks, indicates that behind it there was experienced masterminds. It was not a spontaneous act in protest of the movie. This has been prepared for a long time, on this specific day.
Interviewer: So what you're saying is that this attack was well-planned, and it would have happened anyways, despite the movie?
Al-Magariaf: Of course. No doubt. The whole operation was prepared and it took advantage of the movie as justification. If you take into account the weapons used, like RPGs and other heavy weapons, it proves that it was pre-planned. It's a dirty act of revenge, and has nothing to do with religion.
Interviewer: Over the past few months, there've been several attacks, the killing of the American Ambassador being the biggest one. But all along we've been hearing that those were Gaddafi remnants. Now, you have a different point of view, don't you?
Al-Magariaf: There is no doubt that there are remnants of Gaddafi who are operating inside Libya, and on the borders, but if the killers where from the former regime, and they had the ability to execute such attacks, they would have chosen another date. They would have targeted the leadership in Tripoli or government institutions, not the US Consulate in Benghazi. It's impossible that this operation can be from the former regime.
Interviewer: Do you know how many the extremists are?
Al-Magariaf: I don't think they are in big numbers.
Interviewer: I think they are very few to make a lot of problems.
Al-Magariaf: But they know the Security Forces are weak. There is a vacuum. The Security Forces and the brigades are infiltrated. Even if they are in small numbers, they can cause a lot of destruction. This was an act of revenge. It will have an impact on the US-Libyan relations, and it puts the Libyan Revolution in danger. We have to bring to justice the perpetrators.
Interviewer: Many people we spoke to said that they were very worried. Killing the US Ambassador is not a small matter, at all. There's a lot of rumors - the FBI coming here to investigate, the Marines may have already arrived --
Al-Magariaf: There are many rumors. There are many expected steps that will be taken. There are previous examples of how the US Administration dealt with similar situations. The Libyan cause has its own uniqueness. There is a will from both sides to understand, negotiate and compromise, in the interest of the country.
Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 10:10 PM PT: I have done my best to provide you with an accurate transcript. Please let me know if there are any mistakes.
His comments to Al Jazeera marked the first time his government has openly attributed acts of violence to religious extremists. Libya's deputy interior minister had blamed the attack on Gaddafi loyalists on Wednesday.More Information About The Worldwide Protests Sparked By Nakoula's Film:
While Gaddafi loyalists maintained a presence inside Libya, al-Magarief said, there was no chance that they were behind the attack that killed four US consular staff members. There were only a few al-Qaeda members active in Libya, he said, but they were profiting from the security vacuum and had managed to infiltrate the security forces.
One of the biggest factors contributing to the ongoing instability in Libya is the proliferation of arms left over from the 2011 conflict that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, combined with a central government severely weakened by tribal rivalries.
In another example of the state's vulnerability to the armed groups, the airspace over Benghazi was closed for several hours on Friday morning after opposition fighters allegedly threatened to shoot down US drones flying over the area.
The Libyan authorities began examining the scene of Wednesday's violence late on Friday afternoon, a military spokesperson told Al Jazeera, while Libyan soldiers stood guard outside the US consulate. Ahmed Faraj, the spokesperson, told Al Jazeera the investigative team had arrived at around 4pm local time (2:00 GMT).
The Libyan authorities arrested four people in relation to the killings on Thursday, according to reports by Reuters news agency.
Afghanistan's Taliban claimed responsibility on Saturday for an attack on a base which U.S. officials said killed two American Marines, saying it was in response to a film that insults the Prophet Mohammad.UPDATE 2: From Reuters: Al-Qaeda in Yemen Urging Murder of US Diplomats
Camp Bastion, in southern Helmand province, came under mortar, rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire late on Friday.
The assault also wounded several servicemen.
"The aim of this attack was revenge against Americans for the anti-Prophet movie," said Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf.
The Yemen-based branch of al Qaeda urged Muslims to step up protests and kill more U.S. diplomats in Muslim countries after a U.S.-made film mocking the Prophet Mohammad which it said was another chapter in the "crusader wars" against Islam.Libyan Security Guard Describes Attack On Embassy (Kansas City Star):
"Whoever comes across America's ambassadors or emissaries should follow the example of Omar al-Mukhtar's descendants (Libyans), who killed the American ambassador," the group said, referring to Tuesday's attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi...
Fury about the film swept across the Middle East after Friday prayers, with protesters attacking U.S. embassies and in protests that killed at least seven people and prompted Washington to send troops to bolster security at its missions...
AQAP, mostly militants mainly from Yemen and Saudi Arabia, is regarded by the United States as the most dangerous branch of the network founded by Osama bin Laden.
Libyan security guard who said he was at the U.S. consulate here when it was attacked Tuesday night has provided new evidence that the assault on the compound that left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was a planned attack by armed Islamists and not the outgrowth of a protest over an online video that mocks Islam and its founder, the Prophet Muhammad.Additional eye-witness account from the UK's Guardian:
The guard, interviewed Thursday in the hospital where he is being treated for five shrapnel wounds in one leg and two bullet wounds in the other, said that the consulate area was quiet – “there wasn’t a single ant outside,” he said – until about 9:35 p.m., when as many as 125 armed men descended on the compound from all directions.
The men lobbed grenades into the compound, wounding the guard and knocking him to the ground, then stormed through the facility’s main gate, shouting “God is great” and moving to one of the many villas that make up the consulate compound. He said there had been no warning that an attack was imminent. “Wouldn’t you expect if there were protesters outside that the Americans would leave?” the guard said.
The guard, located by searching hospitals for people injured Tuesday night, said he was 27 years old but declined to give his name. He asked that the hospital where he is being treated not be identified for fear that militants would track him down and kill him. He said he was able to escape by telling one of the attackers that he was only a gardener at the compound. The attacker took him to the hospital, the guard said.
"Better security would not have stopped this," said Adel Ibrahim, the owner of the accommodation building where blood is now spattered beneath a hole smashed in a wall by a heavy projectile. "A security unit is fine if you are facing 10 persons, but there were 400 attackers. [The Americans] would have needed an army to stop them."UPDATE 3: Here's a link to a map of the protests currently taking place across the world. Thank you, Claudius Bombarnac, for the link! I wasn't able to embed the actual map, unfortunately.
It is clear the US staff and their Libyan guards were subjected to a terrifying, night-long ordeal, which began with protests outside the consulate in the al-Fawahat residential district. Demonstrators gathered in the narrow Venice Street outside the main gated entrance, voicing protests against the reported release in the US of a film that ridiculed Islam.
The protest quickly turned violent, the landlords said. Who fired first is a matter of dispute, with some claiming the Libyan security guards hired by the Americans shot in the air, panicking the crowd.
There is no doubt about what happened next. The compound is bound by a breeze-block wall topped by barbed wire, but it was not enough to stop the attackers. "They jumped in from everywhere," said Ahmed Busheri, owner of the consulate.
— LEBANON: Security forces opened fire in the northeastern Lebanese city of Tripoli, killing one person after a crowd angry over the film set fire to a KFC and a Hardee's restaurant. About 25 people were wounded in the melee, including 18 policemen who were hit with stones and glass.
— SUDAN: Several hundred protesters stormed the German Embassy in the capital, Khartoum, burning a car parked behind its gates and trash cans before police firing tear gas drove them out. There appeared to be no injuries to embassy staff and no apparent damage to the building. Most protesters then dispersed, but one group marched to the nearby British Embassy.
— YEMEN: Security forces shot live rounds in the air and fired tear gas at a crowd of around 2,000 protesters trying to march to the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Sanaa. Police kept the crowd at bay about a block away. Friday's demonstration came a day after hundreds stormed the embassy compound and burned the American flag.
— EGYPT: Riot police clashed with hundreds of protesters blocks away from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, as the president broadcast an appeal to Muslims to protect embassies and tried to patch up strained relations with Washington. After weekly prayers, a crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square tore up an American flag, and waved a black, Islamist flag. When protesters tried to move toward the embassy, ranks of police confronted them, firing tear gas.
— IRAN: Thousands shouted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” in Tehran in a demonstration after Friday prayers. Some burned the American and Israeli flags. State TV says similar protests were held in other Iranian cities.
— BAHRAIN: More than 2,000 protesters chanted against the film and burned American and Israeli flags after Friday prayers in Diraz, outside the capital, Manama. Security forces were absent. Separately, Bahrain's Interior Ministry ordered media regulators to attempt to block access to the film clip.
— IRAQ: Hundreds demonstrated in Baghdad's northern Sunni neighborhood of Azamaiyah, some shouting: “No, no America! No, no to Israel,” and, “We are ready to sacrifice ourselves for our Prophet.” Dozens also marched in Baghdad's poor Sadr City district. In the southern city of Basra, about 1,000 took to the streets and burned the American and Israeli flags. One banner said: “Freedom doesn't mean offending two billion Muslims.”
— TUNISIA: A crowd of several thousand demonstrators protested outside the US embassy in Tunis. Police responded to stone-throwing with tear gas. An AP reporter on the scene witnessed several people overcome by intense clouds of gas. Tunisia's official news agency said two people died and 29 others were injured. State news agency TAP said both people killed were demonstrators, while the injured included protesters and police.
— ISRAEL: The Israeli police say about 400 people marched toward the U.S. consulate in east Jerusalem in protest over the prophet film. Demonstrators threw bottles and stones at police, who responded by firing stun grenades. Four protesters were arrested and the crowd was prevented from reaching the U.S. consulate.
— WEST BANK: In the city of Nablus, about 200 people demonstrated against the film as Muslim clerics throughout the territory preached against it in Friday sermons.
— SYRIA: About 200 protesters waved the Syrian flag and shouted anti-American slogans outside the long-closed U.S. Embassy in Damascus. The crowd held banners saying: “He who curses the Prophet doesn't seek democracy” and “a nation whose Prophet is Muhammad, would never kneel down.” The U.S. embassy has been closed since February because of the country's bloody conflict that has killed about 23,000 people.
— AFGHANISTAN: About 1,500 protested outside the eastern city of Jalalabad, shouting “Death to America” and urging President Hamid Karzai to sever relations with the U.S.
— PAKISTAN: Hundreds of hardline Muslims held peaceful protests against the film throughout Pakistan, shouting slogans and carrying banners criticizing the U.S. and those involved in the film. Police in Islamabad set up barricades and razor wire to block off a diplomatic enclave where the U.S. Embassy and many other foreign missions are located.
— QATAR: About 1,000 protesters gathered outside the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy in the capital Doha, chanting anti-US slogans and calling for Washington to remove its military presence from the strategic Gulf nation.
An influential cleric reminded worshippers that the American government had no role in the film and that “loyalty to the Prophet is not expressed by attacking embassies.”
— GREAT BRITAIN: In London, around 250 protesters marched noisily but peacefully through Britain's capital to the U.S. embassy. The group, which called itself the “Defenders of The Prophet,” held placards denouncing the U.S. and perceived Western imperialism.
— TURKEY: Hundreds of people gathered in Istanbul's Beyazit Square to protest the prophet film. The protest was organized by Turkey's main Islamist political party, Saadet.
— INDIA: Thousands protested in the volatile Indian-controlled region of Kashmir, burning U.S. flags and calling President Barack Obama a “terrorist.” The top government cleric reportedly demanded Americans leave immediately.
In the southern city of Chennai, protesters threw stones at the U.S. Consulate, shattering some windows and burning an effigy of Obama. Police quickly cleared the area, arresting more than 100 protesters.
— BANGLADESH: Some 5,000 hardline Muslims marched in the streets of the capital, Dhaka, after Friday prayers, burning U.S. and Israeli flags and calling for the death of the filmmaker. Police prevented them from marching toward the U.S. Embassy several miles away.