Below is a breakdown of events since the diffusion of a film considered offensive to Islam which prompted violent anti-American protests around the Muslim world and led to the death of four Americans in Libya on Tuesday.
Entitled Innocence of Muslims
, the film, directed by Israeli-American filmmaker Sam Bacile - a pseudonym - portrays Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent. It also pokes fun at the Prophet Mohammed and touches on themes of pedophilia and homosexuality.
1) Tuesday, September 11:
- An armed mob protesting over the film attacks the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, killing the US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other embassy officials.
- In Egypt some 3,000 mainly Salafist demonstrators tear down the Stars and Stripes at the Cairo US embassy and replace it with a black Islamic flag, similar to one adopted by several militant groups.
- The Egyptian press says the film was produced by expatriate members of Egypt's Christian Coptic minority resident in the United States.
- The Arab League condemns the film.
2) Wednesday, September 12:
- The Benghazi killings are strongly condemned by Libyan authorities who apologise to the United States. They blame followers of the deposed regime of late strongman Moamer Kadhafi and Al Qaeda.
- US President Barack Obama condemns the "outrageous" attack but vows he will not break America's bond with Libya. He orders stepped up security at US posts around the world.
- The attack on the US consulate likely was a well-planned assault by militants instead of a rampaging mob, a senior US official says.
- The US announces the deployment of a 50-strong US Marine counter-terrorism unit and two destroyers to Libya.
- The United Nations strongly condemns the killings, while the European Union calls on Tripoli to ensure the protection of diplomats and foreign staff.
- Tunisian police fire tear gas to disperse hundreds of Salafist demonstrators outside the US embassy in Tunis. Protests are also held near US missions in Morocco and Sudan.
3) Thursday, September 13:
- In Yemen, police shoot dead a protester and wound five others when they open fire on a crowd attempting to storm the US embassy in Sanaa.
- In Cairo, protesters pelt the Egypt mission with stones after a night of clashes, in which the health ministry says 16 people are injured.
- Demonstrations near to the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which represents US interests in Iran. Demonstrations also take place in the Gaza Strip and several Iraqi cities.
- Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi slams the film, but warns against the use of violence.
- Libya's interior ministry says it has made arrests and opened a probe into the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemns the film as "disgusting and reprehensible", stressing the US government had nothing to do with it.