US Marines are en route to Libya to reinforce security at the American consulate in Benghazi, reports CNN, following last night's slaying of US ambassador Chris Stevens. The team of 50 Marines, known as the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team, specializes in protecting embassies, reports the AP, although experts point out that the Marines' jurisdiction is limited to diplomatic grounds. Protests in Libya and Egypt yesterday apparently began over a YouTube film that ridicules Mohammed and criticizes Egypt's treatment of its Coptic Christians.
The Marines will be instructed to take an "assertive" posture in defending the consulate and maintain security. The United States is reportedly also sending a military aircraft to Libya for potential medical evacuations or to carry the remains of Stevens and the three other slain officials back to America. Wary of the potential of spreading violence, the US embassies in Tunisia and Algeria are also warning of additional protests today, advising Americans in those countries to avoids crowds and public spaces, reports the AP.