The Egyptian cabinet on Wednesday (September 12th) called on the Egyptian people to exercise restraint following angry protests over an amateurish film deemed offensive to the prophet.
"The film is offensive to the Prophet and immoral," the cabinet said in a statement read by Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil at a news conference.
"We call on the great people of Egypt to exercise restraint when expressing their anger," Qandil said.
The film, posted on YouTube, sparked protests in Cairo and Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans, including US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, were killed when a mob stormed the US consulate on Tuesday.
The attack in Libya came after thousands of hardline Salafists tore down the American flag at the US embassy in Cairo and replaced it with a black Islamic flag, similar to one adopted by several extremist groups.
Egyptian police intervened without resort to force and persuaded the trespassers to come down, AFP reported.
Qandil described the Cairo attack as "regrettable and rejected by all Egyptian people and cannot be justified", adding that that the US government should not be blamed for the film, which he said was produced by people with no relations to the US government.
The Muslim Brotherhood called for "peaceful protests" outside mosques across Egypt on Friday in protest of the film and "strongly condemned" the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
"We strongly condemn the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi and the tragic loss of life. We urge restraint as people peacefully protest and express their anger," the Brotherhood said via Twitter, according to Ahram Online.
Coptic activists also said they would stage a vigil on Wednesday.
In Libya, Abdelmonoem al-Horr, spokesperson for the Libyan interior ministry's security commission, said Tuesday that rocket-propelled grenades were fired at the US consulate in Benghazi from a nearby farm.
The attackers looted the consulate before setting it on fire, witnesses told AFP.
Armed men, including members of an extremist Islamist group, had closed off the streets leading to the consulate, according to AFP.
Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's deputy UN ambassador, told reporters that up to 10 Libyan security personnel were also killed and wounded in the attack on Tuesday.
Libya's General National Congress (GNC) strongly condemned the attack.
"We present our apologies to the United States, the American people and the entire world for what happened," the GNC's president, Mohamed al-Megarief, in a statement.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday said the killing of the American diplomats by "a savage and small group" should "shock the consciences of people" around the world.
"As the conflict in Libya unfolded, [Ambassador Stevens] was one of the first Americans on the ground in Benghazi," Clinton said. "He risked his own life to lend the Libyan people a helping hand to build the foundation for a new, free nation."
Clinton described the film as "inflammatory" adding that it did not justify the attack.
"Violence like this is no way to honour religion or faith, and as long as there are those who would take innocent life in the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace," she said.
US President Barack Obama also condemned the Libya attack.
"While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants," he said.