By Phyllis Stark. CREATED Jul 26, 2014
The U.S. Embassy in Libya was evacuated early Saturday because of concerns over violence in the area, according to multiple news reports.
Personnel based at the Tripoli facility were removed “under cover of American warplanes and spy aircraft, according to the State Department and the Pentagon,” USA Today reports. The evacuation was carried out without incident in about five hours.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement, “Due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias in the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, we have temporarily relocated all of our personnel out of Libya.”
USA Today reports, “Embassy personnel were taken to temporary offices in neighboring Tunisia with security provided by U.S. forces. Harf said the embassy is not closed, but operations were temporarily suspended.” Among those evacuated were the Marine guards providing security at the Embassy, according to Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby.
Kirby said “the evacuation took place with surveillance planes providing watch, and warplanes patrolling to provide close-air support in the event of an attack. F-16 fighters, airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and an Airborne Response Force with MV-22 Ospreys provided security,” USA Today reports.
Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters that Turkey has also removed about 700 of its people from the North African country
“The streets of Tripoli have grown chaotic,” USA Today reports. “Clashes between armed militias have killed and wounded dozens in the past few weeks. Militias, paid by the government, have been battling to control the city's airport. … Violence has increased in recent weeks, prompting the embassy's evacuation.”