Foreign Embassies and U.N. Offices Attacked in Tripoli

Vandals attack hours after Qaddafi's son was killed in a NATO airstrike

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Britain and Italy announced on Sunday that their foreign embassies in Tripoli had been attacked by vandals, Reuters reports, hours after the Libyan government said that a NATO airstrike on Saturday night killed Qaddafi's youngest son Saif al-Arab and three grandchildren.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement that Libya had breached its international obligation to protect diplomatic missions in Tripoli, and as a result, he had "taken the decision to expel the Libyan ambassador," noting that the official, Omar Jelban, had 24 hours to leave Britain.

A spokeswoman at Britain's foreign ministry added that the damage was "severe." She said the British embassy buildings, which include the ambassadors’ residence, have been almost completely burnt down, with only the shells remaining. She said "initial reports indicate it was caused by fire" and the buildings had been “ransacked, vandalized and completely destroyed.”

The Italian foreign ministry also said in a statement "there were attacks of vandalism against the buildings of a number of foreign embassies in Tripoli, including the Italian embassy." The ministry accused the Qaddafi regime of failing to take measures to protect foreign missions.

UPDATE: BBC reports that the U.N. is withdrawing all its international staff from Tripoli following a mob attack on its offices. A U.N. official told the BBC its staff would withdraw from Libya and the decision would be reviewed next week.

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