Top of the Morning: US Embassies Attacked in Libya and Egypt; Syrian Refugee Crisis; Somali President Escapes Assassination

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

 US Ambassador to Libya Killed in Embassy Attack

US embassies were stormed in Cairo and Benghazi when word spread of an obscure firm mocking Islam. “Angered by reports in the Egyptian media that members of the Coptic Christian diaspora in Washington had produced a crude film mocking the Muslim prophet, protesters climbed the walls of the United States Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday and tore down the American flag. Later, a Libyan security official told Reuters that armed militiamen had attacked the United States consulate in Benghazi, killing a staff member.” (NYT Recent reports say that 4 people were killed in the US consulate in Benghazi, including US ambassador Christopher Stevens. “In a statement confirming the four fatalities, President Obama said he strongly condemned the killings and had ordered increased security at American diplomatic posts around the world. It was the first death of an American envoy abroad in more than two decades.” (NYT

New Data Shows Sharp Increase in Syrian Refugees

Figures released yesterday by the UN Refugee Agency shows a spike in the number of people fleeing the country. “The agency said the number of people fleeing the country jumped from 18,500 in June to 35,000 in July to 102,000 in August. Around 2,000 Syrians are crossing daily into Jordan amid continuing air and artillery attacks on towns near the southern border, Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the agency, said. Thousands more Syrians are reported to be moving south from village to village seeking safety from the fighting before crossing into Jordan, he said. The exodus has pushed the number of Syrian refugees to more than a quarter of a million, Mr. Edwards said. Of the total, Jordan now has more than 85,000 refugees and Turkey more than 78,000, the refugee agency said, counting those who have registered or are awaiting registration with the agency. But many more refugees have not registered, and both countries count far greater numbers. The agency said more than 10,000 were waiting to cross into Turkey.” (NYT

Somali President Avoids Assassination Attempt

A Mogidishu hotel where Somalia’s new president was meeting with Kenya’s foreign minister was attacked. Reports indicate Hassan Sheikh Mohamud safely escaped. “Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste, reporting from the Jazeera Palace hotel in Mogadishu, where the attack occurred, said that two explosions had taken place, and that gunfire had erupted immediately after the first blast. A bomb exploded outside the gate, followed by an exchange of fire. Initial reports indicated that at least three people had been killed.” (Al Jazeera