Protesters storm U.S. embassy in Yemen

Yemenis protest in front of the U.S. Embassy Thursday. Yemenis protest in front of the U.S. Embassy Thursday. Hani Mohammed/AP
President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi of Yemen apologized on Thursday for an assault on the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, and said he has ordered an investigation into the incident, The New York Times reported.

Protesters stormed the U.S. embassy on Thursday, crashing through the gate of the heavily fortified compound as security guards fired into the air, according to Reuters. But order was quickly restored.

Protesters set fire to a building and burned the U.S. flag, raising a black banner bearing Islam’s declaration of faith: “There is no God but Allah,” according to the Associated Press.  

A statement released by Yemen through its embassy in Washington said the situation was quickly calmed.

"Security services have quickly restored order to the embassy's complex," the statement said, according to CNN. "Fortunately no casualties were reported from this chaotic incident. "

In his statement, Hadi said that he had ordered an “expeditious and thorough investigation” into the protests, and promised that the perpetrators “will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

The statement also pointed to divisions among Yemeni security and military forces between supporters of the new government and of the previous government under Hadi’s predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, which may have exacerbated tensions that lead to the protests.

The attack follows violence at the Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Tuesday, which killed the U.S. ambassador and  three other U.S. diplomats, plunging the U.S. into a foreign policy crisis that monopolized the White House and the State Department on Wednesday.

The protests in Yemen were ignited by a video made in the United States that attacks Islam and that many Muslims find severely offensive.

 
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