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The US has announced it will keep some of its embassies in north Africa and the Middle East closed for up to a week, due to a possible militant threat.

Twenty-one US embassies and consulates closed on Sunday.

The State Department in Washington said the extended closures were due to the exercise of caution, and not a reaction to a new threat.

US diplomat missions in Algiers, Kabul and Baghdad are among those which will reopen on Monday, Washington said.

A state department global travel alert, issued on Friday, is in force until the end of August.

The US will keep some of its embassies in north Africa and the Middle East closed for up to a week, due to a possible militant threat

The US will keep some of its embassies in north Africa and the Middle East closed for up to a week, due to a possible militant threat

The department said the potential for an al-Qaeda inspired attack was particularly strong in the Middle East and North Africa.

Embassies closed on Sunday, a working day in the Muslim world, included Amman, Cairo, Riyadh and Dhaka.

The embassy closures and US global travel alert came after the US reportedly intercepted al-Qaeda messages.

It has been suggested that they were between senior figures talking about a plot against an embassy.

Referring to the Middle East, the state department said: “Current information suggests that al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August.”

The travel alert called for US citizens to be vigilant, warning of “the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure”.

An unnamed US official has said the threat could be related to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends this week.


Several European countries, including the UK, have temporarily shut missions in Yemen.

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Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man linked to anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims that sparked riots across the Muslim world, has been held without bond after a hearing in Los Angeles, California.

A judge said Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was a flight risk and cited a pattern of deception when making his ruling, Reuters news agency reported.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was investigated for violating probation terms after he was released from prison in 2011 for bank fraud.

He has not been detained over the contents of the inflammatory video.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Christian originally from Egypt, allegedly produced the 14-minute trailer for the film Innocence of Muslims. He had been in hiding after the release of the video.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has been held without bond after a hearing in LA

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has been held without bond after a hearing in LA

After his 2010 conviction, he was sentenced to 21 months in prison and, under the terms of his probation, he was banned from using computers or accessing the internet for five years without an officer’s permission.

US Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said: “the court has a lack of trust in this defendant at this time”.

Assistant Attorney Robert Dugdale said the court believed Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was flight risk.

“He has every incentive to disappear,” he said.

A clip from the US-made film was dubbed into Arabic, provoking widespread anger for its disrespectful portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.

The film was made on a very low budget, with insults and offensive inferences to the Prophet Mohammad and Islam crudely dubbed on afterwards.

Earlier, the Obama administration had requested Google, the company that owns YouTube, to remove the clip. The technology firm refused, saying the film did not violate its rules.

The clip was uploaded to YouTube in July, but violence only broke out on 11 September, after Arabic TV stations broadcast it.

The clip has not broken any laws in the US, where freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution’s first amendment.

Four Americans, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya earlier this month.

Meanwhile, some of the actors in the video have come forward to say they were misled. They said had been hired to appear in a film called Desert Warriors, which did not mention Islam or the Prophet Muhammad in the script.

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Barack Obama is addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, where he is to say the US will “do what we must” to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

Six weeks before the US election, Barack Obama is expected to say that a nuclear-armed Iran “is not a challenge that can be contained”.

Barack Obama condemned the violence that erupted over a “disgusting” anti-Islam video as “an attack on UN ideals”.

Unrest across the Middle East is set to dominate discussion the summit.

Recent protests across the Muslim world in response to the US-made video mocking the Prophet Muhammad, as well as Iran’s nuclear programme and the 18-month conflict in Syria, are likely to be high on the agenda.

Barack Obama is addressing the UN General Assembly in New York

Barack Obama is addressing the UN General Assembly in New York

Opening the meeting on Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the fighting in Syria as “a regional calamity with global ramifications”.

Ban Ki-moon called for action from the divided UN Security Council and said “the international community should not look the other way as violence spirals out of control”.

“Brutal human rights abuses continue to be committed, mainly by the government but also by opposition forces,” he added.

People did not look to the UN to be simply a mirror reflecting back a divided world, said Ban Ki-moon: Rather, they wanted to see it come up with solutions to problems.

Barack Obama was blunter in his assessment of Syria, saying Bashar Assad’s regime must end.

The US president opened his address with a tribute to the US ambassador to Libya murdered in Benghazi, challenging the UN to affirm that “our future will be determined by people like Christopher Stevens, and not by his killers”.

“Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations,” he said.

Barack Obama was to vow that “the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” with the backing of “a coalition of countries” holding Tehran accountable.

Although the White House said the president’s address should not be considered a campaign speech, it follows critical remarks about his foreign policy from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney condemned Barack Obama’s description of the murder of Christopher Stevens and three other Americans as “bumps in the road”. He has also castigated him for not taking time out to hold talks on Iran during the summit with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

Barack Obama has rejected the Israeli leader’s calls for Washington to set Tehran “red lines”.

Benjamin Netanyahu has recently appeared on US television to press for a tougher line on Iran, and he will take the same message to the General Assembly on Thursday.

Tehran says its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes.

On the eve of the assembly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a UN meeting that Israel was a “fake regime”, prompting Israel’s UN ambassador, Ron Prosor, to walk out.

Syria’s 18-month conflict is not formally on the General Assembly’s agenda but it is likely to be addressed by several speakers on the opening day. including French President Francois Hollande and Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

Francois Hollande, in his first appearance at the assembly, is also expected to call for backing for an international force to be sent to the West African state of Mali to help dislodge Islamist militants who have taken over the north of the country.

The UN Security Council has been unable to reach agreement on the Syria crisis and on Monday UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned that the situation was “extremely bad and getting worse”.

While he did not have a full plan, he said he had “a few ideas”. Lakhdar Brahimi has just visited Damascus as well as refugee camps in neighboring Jordan and Turkey.

Diplomats have played down expectations for Lakhdar Brahimi’s mission, with no sign of fundamental divisions on the council being bridged.

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The Pakistani PM’s spokesman has condemned a minister’s $100,000 reward for the killing of the maker of amateur anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims.

Shafqat Jalil said the government “absolutely disassociated” itself from comments by Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour.

Innocence of Muslims, produced in the US, has led to a wave of protests in the Muslim world and many deaths.

The bounty offer came a day after at least 20 died in clashes in Pakistan.

Pakistani Railways Minister offers $100,000 reward for the killing of Innocence of Muslims maker

Pakistani Railways Minister offers $100,000 reward for the killing of Innocence of Muslims maker

Friday’s violence, which saw protesters pitted against armed police, occurred in cities throughout Pakistan, with Karachi and Peshawar among the worst hit.

“I will pay whoever kills the makers of this video $100,000,” the minister said.

“If someone else makes other similar blasphemous material in the future, I will also pay his killers $100,000.

“I call upon these countries and say: Yes, freedom of expression is there, but you should make laws regarding people insulting our Prophet. And if you don’t, then the future will be extremely dangerous.”

At one point, he even called for the help of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in killing the filmmaker.

His ANP party, which is part of the governing coalition, said this was a personal statement, not party policy, but added that it would not be taking any action against him.

Shafqat Jalil said: “He is not a member of the [ruling] PPP [Pakistan People’s Party], he is an ANP politician and therefore the prime minister will speak to the head of the ANP to decide the next step. They are not ruling out action against him but say he will stay in his post for now.”

Meanwhile, scores of people were reported to have been injured on Saturday in a clash in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka between police and hundreds of demonstrators.

Police fired tear gas and used batons to disperse stone-throwing protesters who set several vehicles alight, the Associated Press news agency reports.

In Pakistan itself, a peaceful demonstration was held in Islamabad. Protesters marched through the capital and gathered near parliament, chanting slogans against the filmmaker and demanding his punishment.

And in Nigeria, tens of thousands of Muslims marched in the northern city of Kano in a protest that passed off peacefully.

Marchers shouted “death to America, death to Israel and death to the enemies of Islam” in a procession several kilometres long. US and Israeli flags were dragged through the dirt.

The exact origins of Innocence of Muslims, the low-budget film that has prompted the unrest, are unclear.

The alleged producer of the trailer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is in hiding.

Anti-US sentiment grew after a trailer for the film dubbed into Arabic was released on YouTube earlier this month.

US citizens have been urged not to travel to Pakistan, and the US embassy has paid for adverts on Pakistani TV showing President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the film.

Although US targets have borne the brunt of protests against the film, anti-Western sentiment has been stoked further by caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published this week in the satirical French magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

France shut embassies and other missions in about 20 countries across the Muslim world on Friday.

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At least 15 people have been killed during violent protests which erupted on the streets of Pakistan’s main cities in anger at anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims made in the US.

Ten people were killed in the port city of Karachi and a further five died in the north-western city of Peshawar, hospital officials said.

Protesters also breached the diplomatic enclave in the capital, Islamabad, near the US embassy.

There has been widespread unrest over the amateur film, Innocence of Muslims.

Dozens of people have been reported wounded and some were in a critical condition.

Protests have already left several people dead around the world, including Pakistan, where the government had appealed in advance for peaceful protests, declaring a holiday and “day of love” for the Prophet Muhammad.

At least 15 people have been killed during violent anti-film protests which erupted on the streets of Pakistani main cities

At least 15 people have been killed during violent anti-film protests which erupted on the streets of Pakistani main cities

Although US targets have borne the brunt of protests against the film, anti-Western sentiment has been stoked further by caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published this week in the satirical French magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

France shut embassies and other missions in around 20 countries across the Muslim world on Friday.

Protests were banned in France itself and in Tunisia, where France is the former colonial power, but there were widespread demonstrations elsewhere:

• A peaceful protest took place outside the US embassy in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur

• Some 3,000 people marched in the southern Iraqi city of Basra

• Thousands burned US and French flags in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka

• Crowds rallied in Baalbek in southern Lebanon in a protest organized by the Shia militant group, Hezbollah, burning US and Israeli flags

• There were fears of violence in the Libyan city of Benghazi where the US ambassador and three other American officials were killed in an attack on the US consulate in the city on 11 September

But it was in Pakistan’s major cities that protesters took to the streets in big numbers and tried to march on US diplomatic missions.

The worst of the violence took place in the country’s biggest city, Karachi, and the north-western city of Peshawar, close to Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt.

Police in Karachi fired live bullets in the air to disperse the crowds and one of those killed was a policeman. Health officials said 10 bodies were taken to two hospitals.

Several cinemas and banks were set on fire and there were reports of looting.

In Peshawar, protesters ransacked cinemas and a driver for Pakistan’s ARY TV was killed when police opened fire on the crowd.

In the capital, Islamabad, which saw its first clashes between protesters and security forces on Thursday, a police checkpost was burned as demonstrators breached the “red zone” where the main embassies and government offices are based.

Police used live rounds and tear gas as the crowd swelled to thousands of people.

The focal point of people’s anger was the US embassy and he had seen more people injured in one hour than all of Thursday.

The low-budget film that has prompted the unrest was made in the US and is said to insult the Prophet Muhammad.

Its exact origins are unclear and the alleged producer for the trailer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is in hiding.

Anti-US sentiment grew after a trailer for the film dubbed into Arabic was released on YouTube earlier this month.

US citizens have been urged not to travel to Pakistan and the US embassy has paid for adverts on Pakistani TV showing President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the film.

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Cindy Lee Garcia, a US actress who appeared in amateur anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims that sparked protests across the Muslim world, is suing the film’s suspected director.

Cindy Lee Garcia accused Nakoula Basseley Nakoula of duping her into a “hateful” film that she was led to believe was a desert adventure movie.

She is also asking a judge to order YouTube to remove the film.

A clip dubbed into Arabic provoked widespread anger for its mocking portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.

Innocence of Muslims, which was made in the United States, has sparked protests across the Middle East, North Africa and as far away as Sri Lanka, with some demonstrations turning into destructive and violent riots.

Cindy Lee Garcia accused Nakoula Basseley Nakoula of duping her into Innocence of Muslims that she was led to believe was a desert adventure movie

Cindy Lee Garcia accused Nakoula Basseley Nakoula of duping her into Innocence of Muslims that she was led to believe was a desert adventure movie

Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stephens, were killed during an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

According to Cindy Lee Garcia, the script she received had made no mention of the Prophet Muhammad or made references to religion.

She claims she has received death threats since the video was posted to YouTube, and says her association with the film has harmed her reputation.

In a court filing lodged with Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, Cindy Lee Garcia alleged fraud, slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Lawyers for Cindy Lee Garcia contend that changes in dialogue during post-production casts her in a false light.

“[Garcia] had a legally protected interest in her privacy and the right to be free from having hateful words put in her mouth or being depicted as a bigot,” the lawsuit says.

“There was no mention of <<Mohammed>> during filming or on set. There were no references made to religion nor was there any sexual content of which Ms Garcia was aware,” it adds.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula denies being “Sam Bacile”, a pseudonym used by the person who posted the video online.

He has gone into hiding after telling US media he was the manager of a company that helped produce the film, but US officials believe him to be the director.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was convicted of fraud in 2010 and ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution. He was released in June 2011 with the provision that he did not access the internet or use any aliases without permission.

Authorities questioned him last week over whether he had violated any of those conditions.

YouTube has so far refused Cindy Lee Garcia’s requests to remove the film, according to the lawsuit, although it has blocked it in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt.

“This lawsuit is not an attack on the First Amendment nor on the right of Americans to say what they think, but does request that the offending content be removed from the Internet,” the complaint states.

Google, which owns YouTube, has blocked the film in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt.

A spokesman for YouTube said they were reviewing the complaint and would be in court on Thursday.

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Fresh protests are taking place around the Muslim world over amateur anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims, which was produced in the US.

At least one protester was killed in violent protests in Pakistan and thousands attended an angry rally in the Philippines city of Marawi.

Weapons were fired and police cars torched in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah has said the US faces “very dangerous” repercussions if it allows the full video to be released.

In a rare public appearance, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah told a rally in the capital Beirut that the world did not understand the “breadth of the humiliation” caused by the “worst attack ever on Islam”.

Thousands of people were on the streets, waving flags and chanting: “America, hear us – don’t insult our Prophet”.

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the influential leader of the Shia Muslim militant group, earlier called for a week of protests – not only against American embassies, but also to press Muslim governments to express their own anger to the US.

A trailer for the obscure, poorly made film at the centre of the row, entitled Innocence of Muslims, came to light in recent weeks and protests first erupted in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, last Tuesday.

More than a dozen people have died in protests since.

In Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the local press club was burnt down and government offices attacked in the Upper Dir district.

One protester was killed in an exchange of fire with police, following the death of another protester on Sunday.

A protest of thousands of students took place in the nearby city of Peshawar, reported AFP news agency.

In the biggest city, Karachi, police fired in the air to disperse a crowd heading for the US consulate, reported Reuters, and lawyers marched in Lahore.

At least one protester was killed in violent protests in Pakistan over anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims

At least one protester was killed in violent protests in Pakistan over anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the film was “wrong and offensive but also laughable as a piece of film-making – what is dangerous and wrong is the reaction to it”.

Tony Blair, who now serves as a Middle East peace envoy, said the protests were ultimately about the “struggle of modernization” under way in the region and not “some form of oppression by the West”.

The exact origins of the film are shrouded in mystery, although US authorities say they believe the film was made by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a convicted fraudster living in California who has since been questioned over his role.

A trailer of the film is available on YouTube and the company said it would not remove it as it was within its guidelines.

But a spokesperson said YouTube had restricted access to the clip in countries where its content is illegal “such as India and Indonesia as well as in Libya and Egypt given the very sensitive situations in these two countries”.

The eruption of anger has seen attacks on US consulates, embassies and business interests across the Middle East and North Africa. British, Swiss, German and Dutch properties have also been targeted.

The US ambassador to Libya was among four Americans killed on the day protests first broke out.

Libyan Interior Minister Fawzi Abdul Al has dismissed a claim on Sunday by the president of the national congress that 50 people have been arrested in connection with the deaths.

He said only four people had been detained so far, although up to 50 could be under investigation.

About 3,000 protesters burned US and Israeli flags in the southern Philippines city of Marawi

• In Yemen, hundreds of students in the capital, Sanaa, called for the expulsion of the US ambassador, said AFP

• In Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, hundreds of protesters faced off with police, throwing stones and petrol bombs, while police retaliated with tear gas

• More protests were reported in Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir

• Hundreds of Palestinians staged a peaceful sit-in protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah

• Angry demonstrators in the Afghan capital, Kabul, fired guns, torched police cars and shouted anti-US slogans

• A small protest was held outside the US embassy in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, AP reported.

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Violent protests were sweeping across the Muslim world following the bloody attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, as U.S. officials say they are sending warships to the coast of the volatile country in an apparent terrorist hunt.

Two marines and a communications officer were also killed dead in the strike in the city of Benghazi.

Also on Wednesday, U.S. officials said one destroyer, the USS Laboon, moved to a position off the coast of Libya, and the USS McFaul is en route and should be stationed off the coast within days.

The officials say the ships, which carry Tomahawk missiles, do not have a specific mission. But they give commanders flexibility to respond to any mission ordered by the president.

The destroyers have crews totaling about 300. There have been four destroyers in the Mediterranean for some time. These moves will increase that to five.

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss troop movements.

Palestinians burn a US flag during a protest against the movie, Innocence of Muslims, near the UN office in Gaza City

Palestinians burn a US flag during a protest against the movie, Innocence of Muslims, near the UN office in Gaza City

But as tensions rise outside Libya, the response to a film produced in the U.S. that depicts Prophet Mohammed is sending shockwaves through the Muslim world.

In Cairo, protests continued into early Thursday morning near Tahrir Square, the site of Egypt’s massive uprising last year.

With further street violence and demonstrations expected across the Middle East, Britain, the U.S. and their European allies stepped-up security at their embassies and consulates.

On Wednesday night, there were protests outside U.S. diplomatic buildings in countries including Tunisia, Sudan, Morocco and Egypt.

In Tunis, the Tunisian capital, police fired teargas and rubber bullets into the air to disperse a protest.

Around 200 protesters, many of whom had long beards, burned U.S. flags and chanted slogans such as “Obama, Obama, we are here for the triumph of Islam”.

It is believed that the attacks were part of a coordinated ambush by terrorists using a pro-Islam protest as cover.

The victims died during a rocket attack when an armed mob set fire to the consulate in Benghazi after joining a protest over a “blasphemous” film about the Prophet Mohammed.

It was also revealed on Wednesday that Ambassador Christopher Stevens and information technology specialist Sean Smith were killed during an attempt by U.S. forces to evacuate staff from a safe house, Libya’s Deputy Interior Minister Wanis Al-Sharif said.

U.S. consular staff was moved to the safe house after an attack on the consul building in the eastern city of Benghazi in which the ambassador was killed, minister Wanis Al-Sharif told a news conference.

A plane with U.S. security units arrived from Tripoli to evacuate other staff but militants discovered the location of the safe house, he said.

“It was supposed to be a secret place and we were surprised the armed groups knew about it. There was shooting,” he said.

Two American security personnel were killed in the shooting, Wanis Al-Sharif said. Two other people were killed and between 12 and 17 wounded.

It is believed a “small, vicious group” of attackers used the protest as a diversion, although questions remain over whether the killers drummed up support for the march or simply took advantage of it, an official told CNN.

While it is not known exactly who was responsible for the rampage, a London think tank with strong ties to Libya said Christopher Stevens, who is not believed to have been targeted, could have been the victim of a revenge attack by al Qaeda.

U.S. officials, describing their preliminary understanding of the incident, told Reuters that the attack began at roughly 10:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday, with Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith and one security officer trapped under fire in the burning consulate building.

“They became separated from each other due to the heavy dark smoke while they were trying to evacuate the burning building,” one senior official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The security officer made it outside, and returned with help to search for the missing U.S. diplomatic personnel.

The assault “came to avenge the death of Abu Yaya al-Libi, al Qaeda’s second in command killed a few months ago” in Pakistan, think tank Quilliam told CNN, noting the rocket-propelled grenade launchers used in the attack do not normally appear at peaceful protests.

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