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US embassy in Lebanon destroying classified material

As a precaution amid rising anti-American protests, diplomats in the US Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, have started destroying classified material.

Hezbollah supporters wave their flag and hold up Arabic banners that read, 'At your service God's prophet, America equals terrorism, and America does not equal freedom,' during a rally denouncing an anti-Islam film that has provoked a week of unrest in Muslim countries worldwide, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon.

Hussein Malla/AP

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Diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut have started to destroy classified material as a security precaution amid anti-American protests in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.

A State Department status report obtained Monday by The Associated Press said the Beirut embassy had "reviewed its emergency procedures and is beginning to destroy classified holdings." It also said that local Lebanese employees were sent home early due to protests by the militant Shiite group Hezbollah over an anti-Muslim film produced in the U.S.

In Washington, a State Department official said there was no imminent threat to the heavily fortified Beirut embassy, which is about an hour away from where the nearest demonstration is planned.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss security procedures, said the decision to "reduce classified holdings" was routine and made by embassy staff.


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