By Sheldon Alberts and Jeremy Herb - 09/14/12 02:58 PM EDT
Vice President Joe Biden called his Sudanese counterpart Friday as concern mounted over the safety of U.S. diplomats following a siege on the American embassy in Khartoum, the White House said.
The call came as a wave of anti-American protests swept through the Arab and Muslim worlds amid anger over a film mocking the Prophet Muhammad. Several people were reportedly killed Friday as anti-American protesters clashed with police after storming U.S. embassies in Sudan and Tunisia. A platoon of Marines was reportedly being dispatched provide extra security at the embassy in Khartoum.
Up to three people died there as Sudanese police fought for more than an hour with protesters reportedly angry over a film that disparages the Prophet Muhammad, Reuters reported. The demonstrators were able to breach the embassy compound, tear down the U.S. flag and replace with an Islamic flag, Sudanese television said.
Several thousand people also reportedly surrounded the Germany embassy in Sudan.
In response to the violence in Khartoum, Biden telephoned Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha. The White House, in a statement, said Biden called to "express his concern for the security of the United States Embassy and other foreign missions in Khartoum."
Biden "reaffirmed the responsibility of the Government of Sudan to protect diplomatic facilities and stressed the need for the Government of Sudan to ensure the protection of diplomats in Khartoum," the White House said. "Vice President Biden emphasized that the highest priority of the United States is the safety of the U.S. diplomatic presence abroad."
The outbreak of violence in Sudan came as anti-U.S. demonstrations spread to several other Arab and Muslim countries.
At least two people were killed Friday amid clashes between police and angry demonstrators who stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia, according to reports.
Hundreds of protesters laid siege to the U.S. Embassy in Tunis on Friday morning, climbing the walls and vandalizing the compound. They broke windows, set fire to trees and tore down the U.S. flag, replacing with a flag professing the Muslim faith, the Associated Press said.
Black smoke could be seen rising from the embassy. The demonstrators also set fires at an American school adjacent to the embassy compound, the AP said.
Tunisian police responded by firing tear gas in an attempt to break up the mob.
The protesters were waving black flags and throwing rocks at police. Several dozen people were injured as demonstrators gathered following Friday prayers, reportedly in response to the anti-Islamic video that was publicized this week.
In Sanaa, Yemenese police reportedly fired guns in the air to keep protesters away from the U.S. embassy there.
It was the fourth day of protests across the Middle East and in other Muslim countries, after demonstrators and militants initially attacked the U.S. Embassy in Egypt and Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday.
The attack in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, appears to have been a coordinated effort unrelated to the protests of the film, however.