US evacuates its embassy in Tripoli, Libya

Monday 28 July 2014 12.44
Militias have exchanged rocket and artillery fire for two weeks in southern Tripoli
Militias have exchanged rocket and artillery fire for two weeks in southern Tripoli

The US State Department said it was temporarily removing its personnel from Libya because of fighting near its embassy in Tripoli.
              
There has been two weeks of fighting between rival militias who have exchanged rocket and artillery fire in southern Tripoli near the embassy compound.

A State Department spokeswoman said staff would return to the capital once it was deemed safe.

Until then, embassy operations would be conducted from elsewhere in the region and Washington.

Turkey has also evacuated about 700 personnel from the North African country.

Tripoli was quieter after the US evacuation, but at least ten people were killed and 50 more injured in clashes.

There were also clashes between special forces and Islamist militants in the eastern city of Benghazi, security and hospital sources said.
              
Security in Libya is an especially sensitive subject for the US because of the attack on the US mission in Benghazi on 11 September 2012, in which US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.              

Since the 2011 fall of Tripoli, fighters from the western town of Zintan and allies have controlled the area including the international airport.

Heavily-armed rivals loyal to the port city of Misrata have entrenched themselves in other parts of the capital.
              
They have sided with competing political forces vying to shape the future of Libya in the messy transition since the end of Muammar Gaddafi's four-decade rule.

Keywords: libya, tripoli