News / Middle East

    US Evacuates Embassy in Libya Amid Unrest

    The United States has temporarily closed its embassy in Libya and evacuated the staff to neighboring Tunisia because of heavy fighting near the embassy site in Tripoli.

    The State Department says it has suspended embassy operations due to "ongoing violence between Libyan militias."

    In a Saturday statement, officials also recommended that U.S. citizens in Libya depart immediately.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said "freewheeling militia violence" is taking place in the capital. And although a lot of the violence in Tripoli is not targeting the embassy, he said, the "very real risk" to personnel prompted the decision to evacuate diplomatic staff overland to Tunisia, from where they will move on to other locations to continue efforts to ease the unrest.

    "We are deeply committed and remain committed to the diplomatic process in Libya," Kerry told media in Paris on Saturday, where he is meeting with other diplomats on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Our envoy will continue to be engaged with the British envoy and other envoys. ... We call on all Libyans to engage in the political process and to come together in order to avoid the violence."

    On Friday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced it had suspended operations at its embassy in Tripoli and moved more than 500 Turkish nationals to Tunisia.

    Rival militias are battling for control in Tripoli at a time when a weak central government is riven by divisions between Islamist, tribal, and nationalist factions. Recent weeks have seen some of the country's deadliest fighting since former leader Moammar Gadhafi was ousted in 2011.

    Nearly 50 people were killed during clashes between Islamist-led fighters from Misrata and Zintan rebels earlier this month as the groups fought for control of the airport.

    The Libyan government and parliament have struggled in their efforts to control the militias.

    The State Department says Libya's security situation remains "unpredictable and unstable," and that the government has not been able to "adequately build its military and police forces" following the 2011 revolution. Many "military-grade weapons" have remained in the hands of private individuals, officials say.

    The security of U.S. personnel in Libya remains a sensitive issue, after four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in a 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

    The International Criminal Court is investigating the current violence.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Heidi from: Santa Cruz
    July 26, 2014 10:21 PM
    Those Republican clowns. Isn't there Something in the Constitution that can stop their TRAITORISTIC blockages of being able to keep our country functioning? THEY ARE TRAITORS! Their racism will bring us down in flames. They're worse then Al Qaeda . We invade a country on false pretenses, their idea and now they are trying to destroy us in our own country. Isn't being a traitor something punished by a firing squad?

    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
    July 26, 2014 3:57 PM
    What is going on with the US ?I guess with this administration when the going gets turf the US evacuates and run, I wonder what message is been sent to its allies than sand and fight with the impression the US will remain besides them when the going gets turf?this is a very wrong message Obama's administration is sending out to the world.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 26, 2014 11:48 AM
    US President Barack Obama "quote" said it, on June 29, 2011, after taking part with (NATO) forces in bombing Libya back to the stone ages, and killing Qaddafi; .. "We've protected thousands of people in Libya; We have not seen a single American casualty; (There's no risk of additional escalation).. This operation is limited in time and scope."

    Obama also "quote" said it; "What I am opposed to is a dumb war" .... (so now), Libya and the world, can thank Obama for his leadership, in leading the (smart) Libyan war and killing Qaddafi, that led to the violence, killings, destruction and the many militia wars, that continues on to this day? .... (YEA, thank Obama for it)..... it was a smart war? ..... REALLY?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.