U.K. Embassy Convoy Attacked in Libya After U.S. EvacuationMariam Fam and Robert Hutton
Attackers fired at a U.K. diplomatic convoy in Libya, a day after the U.S. State Department evacuated its embassy following clashes between militias that highlighted the country’s fragile security.
Shots were fired at U.K. embassy vehicles in an attempted carjacking “but all safe,” British Ambassador to Libya Michael Aron said on Twitter.
The U.K. government, citing instability, issued an advisory against all travel to Libya, saying British nationals already there should leave by commercial means.
State-run Libya News Agency reported today that at least 27 people were killed in fighting that started yesterday in Benghazi between forces loyal to renegade General Khalifa Haftar and opponents.
The unrest signifies the turmoil that defines Libya’s political situation three years after the ouster of longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi. In 2012, four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens were killed in attacks on a diplomatic compound and CIA outpost in Benghazi, an incident that sparked a series of congressional investigations.
“Freewheeling militia violence” in the Tripoli area “presents a very real risk for our personnel, so we are suspending our current diplomatic activities at the embassy, not closing the embassy but suspending the activities,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday.
The State Department has advised all American citizens to leave Libya as a result of the violence near the U.S. Embassy. The Netherlands also advised its citizens to leave, citing unrest.
Egypt has asked Libyan authorities to investigate the killing of a number of its citizens in Tripoli yesterday, according to an Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement.
Rivalry among militias, which often double as national security forces, has undercut the central government’s ability to exert influence and stabilize the nation.