DUBAI  - Al-Qaeda said a deadly attack on US diplomats in Libya was in revenge for the killing of its number two, monitors reported Saturday, as Washington deployed forces to cope with global violence over a film mocking Islam.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) also called for more violence against US diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa, and urged Muslims living in the West to attack American interests, SITE Intelligence Group said.
Symbols of US influence in cities across the Muslim world have come under siege - embassies and schools as well as fast food chains - as protesters vent their fury at the American-made film.
Egypt's top Muslim cleric on Saturday called for an international ban on all forms of attacks against Islam, after a provocative film sparked violent protests in the Middle East and North Africa. Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, grand imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar underlined "the need for an international resolution (banning) any attack on Muslim religious symbols," in a statement addressed to UN leader Ban Ki-moon and published by official news agency MENA.
The resolution should "criminalise attacks on Islamic symbols and on those of other religions, after the violence against those who provoked challenges to world peace and international security," said Tayyeb.
The imam said it was the UN's responsibility to "protect world peace from any threat or aggression," so that "these dangerous events cannot recur."
He also called on "Egyptians in these trying times (to show) wisdom and restraint," condemning the targeting of innocent people and underlining the need to protect foreign diplomatic missions. AQAP, Al-Qaeda's Yemeni offshoot, did not claim direct responsibility for the attack on the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city.
But it said the killing of Al-Qaeda deputy leader Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi in a drone strike in June "increased the enthusiasm and determination of the sons of (Libyan independence hero) Omar al-Mukhtar to take revenge upon those who attack our Prophet," according to SITE.
"May the expulsion of embassies and consulates lead to the liberation of Arab lands from the American hegemony and arrogance," it said in another statement, adding that it was a "duty" for Muslims on Western soil to attack US interests.
In Somalia, the Qaeda-linked Shebab militia, which controls large swathes of the country, also called on Muslims to launch revenge attacks on Western targets.