US evacuates embassy in Libya

27 July 2014

Staff driven to Tunisia with military escort as fighting escalates in Tripoli

The US evacuated its embassy in Libya in the early hours of 26 July, as fighting escalated in the capital in the wake of a collapse in ceasefire negotiations.

Embassy staff were driven across the border into Tunisia with a military escort and air support from F-16 fighters.

“Due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias in the immediate vicinity of the US Embassy in Tripoli, we have temporarily relocated all of our personnel out of Libya,” state department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.

The latest fighting in Tripoli has seen the city’s international airport transformed into a smoking ruin, after a week of fighting between two of the country’s most powerful militias, both of which played a key role in liberating the city in 2011.

The evacuation of embassy staff comes nearly two years after a militia raid on the US consulate in Benghazi killed ambassador Chris Stevens on 12 September 2012.

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