The United States evacuated its embassy in Libya on Saturday, driving its staff under heavy military guard across the border to Tunisia because of escalating clashes between rival militias in Tripoli, the U.S. State Department said. Security in the Libyan capital has deteriorated following two weeks of fighting between brigades of former rebel fighters who have exchanged rocket, cannon and artillery fire in southern Tripoli near the embassy compound. Regrettably, we had to take this step because the location of our embassy is in very close proximity to intense fighting and ongoing violence between armed Libyan factions," a U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. F-16 fighters and Osprey aircraft had provided security during the five-hour drive to Tunisia and there were no incidents.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States shut down its embassy in Libya on Saturday and evacuated its diplomats to neighboring Tunisia under U.S. military escort amid a significant deterioration in security in Tripoli as fighting intensified between rival militias, the State Department said.
The United States on Saturday evacuated its embassy staff in Libya as they faced a "real risk" from fierce fighting in Tripoli and warned all Americans in the country to leave "immediately." Although the diplomatic mission had been operating on limited staffing, the remaining team, including Ambassador Anne Patterson, drove overland to Tunisia to safety in an operation aided by the US military. The evacuation came only hours after the Libyan government warned the country could be torn apart by clashes between rival militias for control of Tripoli airport. US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking during a visit to Paris, said there had been a "real risk" to personnel and insisted that the US was "suspending" operations, but not closing the embassy in the Libyan capital.