Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

U.S. evacuates embassy in Libya, citing militia violence

WASHINGTON — The State Department on Saturday evacuated all U.S. personnel from its embassy in Libya after clashes among rival militias in the capital intensified in recent days in the vicinity of the diplomatic mission, officials said.

Traveling in Paris, Secretary of State John Kerry cited the threat posed by "freewheeling militia violence" near the embassy in Tripoli. Kerry said some embassy functions will continue from neighboring Tunisia, where diplomats were taken.

"We will return the moment the security situation permits us to," Kerry said.

The evacuation of diplomats and other government personnel by land lasted five hours and was carried out with U.S. military aircraft providing security from the air, officials said. The decision was not made lightly, the State Department said.

"Security has to come first," spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.

The State Department also issued a new travel warning for U.S. citizens, advising against all travel to the country and recommending that Americans in Libya leave now.

Saturday's closure of the embassy in Tripoli marked the second time the State Department has shuttered its Libya mission since 2011, when U.S. personnel left as the country's civil war broke out.

The decision was rich in symbolism, coming less than two years after militants in the eastern city of Benghazi stormed two U.S. government compounds, killing the American ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three of his colleagues.

Since that attack, which ignited a political firestorm, the Obama administration has bolstered security measures for its diplomats in Libya and has sought to take steps to stabilize the oil-rich nation reeling from decades of despotic rule.

The evacuation drew a mixed response from Rep. Edward Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who said it "seems like the right call" given the chaotic security situation in Libya, but added that it also reflected a lack of direction on the administration's part.

"Our diplomatic absence will make the hard task of achieving political stability in Libya even harder," Royce said.

In the State Department statement, Harf characterized the evacuation as "temporary" but provided no time frame for a possible return.

U.S. evacuates embassy in Libya, citing militia violence 07/26/14 [Last modified: Sunday, July 27, 2014 12:18am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  2. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  3. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  4. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  5. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]