Pakistan's President, General Zia ul-Haq, is said to have assured the United States that all possible action is being taken to protect U.
SCU: U.S. State Department spokesman Hodding Carter speaking in English at news conference.
HODDING CARTER: "They swept through a small police guard and into the compound grounds. In the course of the assault, a Marine guard was severely injured. He has subsequently died. The Embassy Compound remains occupied by the mob. The American personnel and others have retreated to the vault on the third floor where they currently remain under siege. Pakistani Army units are reportedly gathering to relieve the compound. We are in touch by telephone with Ambassador Arthur Hummel at the residence. We are also currently in direct contact with the vault. Our deputy chief of mission Barrington King, is at the Pakistani Foreign Ministry.
He remains in contact with Ambassador Hummel constantly. Mobs in Pakistan, also burned the American Centre in Lahore and the American Cultural Centre in Rawalpindi. The vault area where the Americans, and possibly other personnel, have gathered is, as I said, on the third floor. It's a relatively large room behind a steel reinforced door. There is an escape hatch to the roof. However, at least some reports say that members of the mob are on the roof. The Pakistani President and Foreign Minister have both promised immediate action to restore order and to ensure the safety of our people. The incident was apparently sparked by a radio report at eleven a.m. Pakistani time -- which is ten hour time difference from here."
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Background: Pakistan's President, General Zia ul-Haq, is said to have assured the United States that all possible action is being taken to protect U.S. citizens in his country. This follows an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad on Wednesday (21 November), in which one American was killed. An angry mob stormed the Embassy after radio reports in Pakistan alleged that a U.S. conspiracy was behind the seizure of the Saudi Arabian Grand Mosque in Mecca -- Islam's holiest city. U.S. State Department spokesman, Hodding Carter, said on Wednesday (21 November) that General Zia had personally telephoned President Jimmy Carter to apologise for the Embassy attack.