U.S. Embassy in Tunis Engulfed in Black Smoke as Protests Rage Across Muslim World

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U.S. Embassy in Tunis Engulfed in Black Smoke as Protests Rage Across Muslim World
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U.S. Embassy in Tunis Engulfed in Black Smoke as Protests Rage Across Muslim World (ABC News)

The U.S. embassy in Tunisia was enveloped in a cloud of black smoke today as police battle thousands of protesters who have gathered to demonstrate at the embassy, as protest by those angry over an American-produced film mocking the Prophet Mohammed raged for a fourth day across the Middle East.

A number of protesters were seen climbing the outer wall of the grounds at the embassy in Tunis, The Associated Press reported. A flag on which was written the Muslim profession of faith was raised. Police reportedly fired gunshots and also responded by firing tear gas.

Dozens of protesters were able to briefly enter the embassy grounds and set cars ablaze in an parking lot inside, the AP reports.

The embassy in Tunisia was the latest one besieged by protesters angry over the movie ""The Innocence of Muslims."

Officials throughout the Muslim world were braced for violent eruptions following Friday prayers, as police and clerics appear to have tried to calm emotions.

In Cairo, protesters took the streets near the U.S. embassy and more were expected to gather in Tahrir Square following Friday's prayers. Police are lined up on the far side of the square, guarding the road that leads to the U.S. Embassy.

The Muslim Brotherhood had announced that it has canceled their nationwide protests. The group had previously had called for peaceful protests after Friday prayers in front of Mosques in all cities across Egypt "in response to the insults to the religious beliefs and the Prophet."

Egyptian Prime Minister Mohammed Morsi went on state TV to denounce the killing of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, during protests about the movie.

Overnight, police in riot gear launched tear gas canisters into the sea of protesters, who were lighting fireworks, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails in return.

In Sanaa, Yemen, police fired shots into the air and lobbed a barrage of tear gas at a crowd of protesters who were trying to march to the U.S. embassy. In face of the tough police response, the crowd of protesters dwindled to several hundred people.

Both embassies in Cairo and Sanaa had been the scene of violent demonstrations earlier this week where protesters breached outer walls and ripped apart the U.S. flag.

Protests erupted as well in India and Bangladesh, and in Lebanon demonstrators took out their anger on a KFC and an Arbys, setting fire to the American-based restaurants.

Many angry demonstrators are blaming the U.S. government for the film,"The Innocence of Muslims," and they want an apology from President Obama.

A U.S. intelligence bulletin warned Thursday that the violent outrage aimed at U.S. embassies spawned by the movie could be spread to America by extremist groups eager to "exploit anger."

On Thursday, the State Department identified the other two Americans killed in this week's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi as Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, former Navy SEALs who provided security at the consulate.

Since 2010, Woods had protected American diplomatic personnel in posts from Central America to the Middle East. Secretary of State Hillary RodhamClinton said he was a registered nurse and paramedic. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and three sons, Tyrone Jr., Hunter and infant Kai.

"He really needs to be honored because this is what he loved to do. And he was helping keep people safe. To me, he really needs to be honored for putting himself out there like that to serve our country," said Woods' ex-wife, Patricia Ann So.

Doherty also was a paramedic and had protected Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. He leaves his father, Bernard, his mother, Barbara, a brother, Gregory, and sister, Kathleen.

Libyan officials said several people have been arrested for the attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, but U.S. officials have not confirmed that.

The deaths of the four Americans, which included Ambassador Christopher Stevens, inflamed presidential politics.

In an interview Thursday with the Washington Post, Mitt Romney's foreign policy adviser Richard Williamson suggested that if Romney were the president, he would have averted the deadly attacks.

Anti-American Protests Spread Across Middle East

"There's a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you'd be in a different situation," Williamson told the Post. "For the first time since Jimmy Carter, we've had an American ambassador assassinated."

Obama, speaking a campaign event in Golden, Colo., Thursday, vowed that the perpetrators would be punished.

"I want people around the world to hear me," he said. "To all those who would do us harm: No act of terror will go unpunished. I will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America."

Clinton delivered a powerful and personal speech about religion at an Eid ul-Fitr reception Thursday night in Washington D.C., marking the end of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.

In her remarks, Clinton repeated much of what she has said in the last three days. Namely that the Benghazi attack was carried out by a "small and savage group," and that the United States completely rejects what she called the "inflammable and despicable" anti-Muslim film circulating the Internet.

ABC News' Lama Hasan, ABC News Radio and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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