As we are coming on the air we are learning a lot more about that surprise assault on the u.S. Consulate in libya. Americans were under attack for five hours and today, four of them are dead,... See More
As we are coming on the air we are learning a lot more about that surprise assault on the u.S. Consulate in libya. Americans were under attack for five hours and today, four of them are dead, including the u.S. Ambassador to libya, the dedicated chris stevens, and here at home flags flying half staff in their honor as tonight embassies around the world have been put on alert warned against demonstrations and violent attacks, particularly these seven on the map. Seven u.S. Embassies. U.S. Marines rushed to libya. Who did this and did al qaeda play a role? Our team is out covering this story across the country and across the middle east tonight and abc's senior foreign affairs correspondent starts us off right now. Martha. Diane we are getting more and more details by the hour. We know more than five hour, the ambassador went missing and his body would not be recovered for 12 hours. They came in darkness, 20 heavily armed attackers, swift, savage and deadly. The libyan security guards protecting the american consulate fired back but were quickly overwhelmed. There were no u.S. Marines to help. The main building of the consulate was quickly set ablaze. Inside, on a planned visit from tripoli, american ambassador, chris steven, along with several others trapped between the ames and funfire, separated by hedark smoke and struggling to breathe. Four american was not make it, at least two dying from smoke inhalation. Including sean smith, father of two. This shocks people of all faith around theworld. We condemn in strongest terms this senseless act of violence. Reporter: A terror group affiliated with al qaeda claimed responsibility for the well-coordinated attack. U.S. Officials still trying to determine whether was time for the anniversary of 9/11, intended to send a deadly message to america or whether linked to an anti-muslim movie that sparked protests in cairo, egypt hours before the attack. Still there's questions over the security of consulate. On this anniversary of 9/11 the consulate was taken totally by surprise. They detected no specific threats. For more than five hours after the attack, the state department could not confirm the ambassador's whereabouts. In the chaos he had been carried off by a group of libyans who delivered him to a local hospital. His body not recovered for 12 hours. There's no way to eliminate security risk. What you try to do is manage it and try to look at overall what are your objectives with the understanding these can be dangerous circumstances. All americans in benghazi have been evacuated to europe. Also three americans wound, one of them seriously, diane. Martha the president said today in his public statement, make no mistake we'll work with the libyan government to bring justice to the killers what is under way tonight? The u.S. Is promising justice and right now trying to track down those killers. Libyan government promised cooperation and the fbi is involved as well.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.