The American embassy in Tripoli was evacuated on Saturday as fighting between militias in Libya spread across the capital. Over 150 Americans were taken out of the country. Spokeswoman Marie Harf explained:
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."
According to NBC, Americans are taking some pretty intense precautions:
American officials told NBC News that the 158 Americans, including 80 heavily armed U.S. Marines, left the embassy compound early Saturday in a caravan of SUV's and buses and drove west toward neighboring Tunisia. Besides the Marines who were the embassy’s security force, the caravan was also protected overhead by two American F-16 fighter jets and unmanned drones that shadowed the group on their drive.
There were also two American warships nearby.
As we noted earlier, Libya held elections last month in the hopes of stabilizing the security situation, which has been beset by fighting among militias within the country.
The groups were first empowered by the government to help tamp down the unrest. However, the militias, many of them Islamist in ideological bent, quickly became engaged their own fighting over turf, which has included some heavy violence at the Tripoli airport.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.