Libya Criticizes Call for Westerners to Leave Benghazi

Libya’s Interior Ministry criticized warnings by several Western governments against travel to Benghazi, saying such calls were not justified, the state-run Libya News Agency reported.

The British, German and Dutch governments yesterday urged their citizens to leave Benghazi immediately, citing threats to Westerners in the country’s second-largest city, where the uprising against Muammar Qaddafi began.

The security situation in Benghazi is stabilizing after the police and military expanded their presence, LNA reported, citing an unidentified Interior Ministry official who said the warnings by the three European countries are without basis.

Libya’s central government has struggled to control Islamist groups that have been blamed for the killing of the U.S. ambassador in September. The travel warnings also came barely a week after militants took dozens of foreigners hostage in neighboring Algeria. Authorities there said the attackers had entered the country from Libya.

To contact the reporter on this story: Saleh Sarar in Tripoli at ssarar@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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