In the months leading up to his death, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, worried about what he called the never-ending security threats in Benghazi and mentioned his name was on an al Qaeda hit list, a source familiar with his thinking told CNN.
Stevens specifically mentioned a rise in Islamic extremism and al Qaeda's growing presence in Libya, the source said.
American intelligence officials are investigating, but Matthew Olsen, the National Counterterrorism Center director, said Wednesday that it was unlikely that Stevens and his security team were killed by random protesters.
"I would say, yes, they were killed in course of terrorist attack on our embassy," Olsen said at a Senate Homeland Security hearing.
Stevens and three other Americans were killed when protesters, angry over a film made in the United States that mocked the Muslim prophet Mohammed, attacked the U.S. Consulate in
Washington tried to distance itself from the uproar, making it clear that it did not sanction the film. But more than a week of protests have rippled from Moroccoto Mayasia, spurring U.S. officials to increase security at diplomatic missions and demand other governments to take action.
On Thursday, Libyan and U.S.officials will attend a memorial service in Tripoli for the slain Americans.
Here are the latest key developments in the fallout from the anti-Islam film, and cartoons published in a French satirical magazine featuring a figure resembling Mohammed:
French magazine runs cartoons of Mohammed
The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo added to the fiery debate between freedom of expression and offensive provocation on Wednesday.
The magazine, which is known for outrageous humor, published cartoons featuring a figure resembling the Prophet Mohammed.
Iranian students demonstrated in front of the French embassy in Tehran on Thursday, the semiofficial FARS news agency reported.
But so far, there has been no violence reported as a result of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
Still, France will close embassies and schools in about 20 countries on Friday, the main Muslim day of prayer, as a precaution, the French foreign ministry said Wednesday.
It is already boosting security in some locations, including its embassies, and police vehicles were parked outside the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo late Tuesday.
In the past, Muslims in many countries have taken to the streets after Friday prayers.
Any depiction of Islam's prophet is considered blasphemy by many Muslims. Francehas the largest Muslim population in Western Europe, with an estimated 4.7 million followers of the faith.
The Charlie Hebdo cartoons are not labeled Mohammed, but several, including one that appears to show a man's naked rear end, could easily be interpreted as being depictions of Islam's prophet.
On Thursday, the Paris prosecutor's office said a group called the Syrian Association of Freedom filed a complaint against the magazine for inciting hatred. The magazine itself turned to the prosecutor's office, asking for an inquiry after its website was hacked.
Meanwhile, the German satirical magazine, "Titanic," will publish an issue lampooning Islamaphobia next week, with a depiction on its cover that could be interpreted as being the prophet Mohammed.
Staffer Martina Werner said the Titanic issue will take on film and politicians making political capital on Islamaphobia, with a cover from an old movie poster.
Asked if it is supposed to depict the prophet Mohammed, Werner answered: "Well, that lies in the eye of the beholder."