• Germany edition
 
Germans urgently warned to leave Benghazi
Photo: DPA

Germans urgently warned to leave Benghazi

Published: 25 Jan 2013 08:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Jan 2013 08:14 GMT+01:00

The German foreign ministry issued a statement urging its citizens to "urgently leave the city and the region of Benghazi", saying it had information about "a specific, immediate threat to Western citizens in Benghazi".

Britain's warning sparked an angry response from Libya's government, which said there was "no new intelligence" to justify such concerns in the eastern city that was the cradle of the uprising that ousted dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The alert out of London came just hours after British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that last week's deadly attack on a gas complex in Algeria was only one part of what would be a "long struggle against murderous terrorists" around the world.

"We are now aware of a specific and imminent threat to Westerners in Benghazi, and urge any British nationals who remain there against our advice to leave immediately," the Foreign Office in London said in a statement.

British National Security Adviser Kim Darroch was in Tripoli on Wednesday but the Foreign Office insisted the visit had nothing to do with the new threat.

The Netherlands also repeated its warning against travel to Benghazi and surrounding areas, with a foreign ministry spokesman telling news agency AFP: "This means it would be better if they left."

Air Malta announced it was cancelling its two scheduled flights to Benghazi on Thursday because of Britain's warning.

The company said it was monitoring the situation "in real time" and was so far not cancelling its next flight, scheduled for Tuesday.

Libya's deputy interior minister, Abdullah Massoud, expressed his "astonishment" at the warnings and said his country would be demanding an explanation from Britain.

"We acknowledge that there are security problems in Benghazi and that there have been for several months, but there is no new intelligence that could justify this reaction from London," the minister said.

"On the contrary. We are now in the process of establishing our authority in the east and in all of Libya, and the security forces are organising themselves little by little and are more and more visible on the ground."

Since its pivotal role as the springboard for the uprising, Benghazi has emerged as a hub for jihadist groups.

The alert came a day after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned of the challenge posed by rising militancy following the Arab Spring, as she testified before Congress about September's bloody attack on the US mission in Benghazi.

US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed when dozens of heavily armed Al-Qaeda-linked militants overran the compound and a nearby CIA-run annex.

Britain had closed its mission in Benghazi around the same time and updated its official advice to warn against travelling there and indeed to most of Libya.

Fears over security in the city were reinforced earlier this month when the Italian consul was shot at in his car, although he escaped unhurt.

Last week's attack on the BP-run In Amenas gas plant in Algeria, in which at least 37 foreign hostages and one Algerian hostage were killed, has sparked fresh concerns about rising Islamist extremism across north Africa.

There have been reports that the hostage-takers entered Algeria from Libya and used weapons left over from Kadhafi's arsenal, although Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has denied the claims.

AFP/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

12:13 January 25, 2013 by raandy
looking at the picture and seeing the Libyans with machine guns I could not help wondering if they were the same Libyan guards that ran immediately when they saw insurgents that invaded the US embassy.
19:42 January 25, 2013 by IchBinKönig
I guess someone in Germany made a home movie? That would justify it.
Today's headlines
Police suspect arson in Berlin mosque fire
The facade of the Mevlana mosque was badly damaged by smoke from the fire. Photo: DPA

Police suspect arson in Berlin mosque fire

Investigators now believe a fire which damaged a mosque in Berlin earlier in August was started deliberately. READ  

Germany sends six soldiers to Iraq
A transport plane which carried German aid in Erbil. Photo: DPA

Germany sends six soldiers to Iraq

Germany has sent six soldiers to northern Iraq to coordinate deliveries of aid and military equipment to Kurds fighting Islamist terror group Isis. READ  

Germanwings' pilots to strike on Friday
Photo: DPA

Germanwings' pilots to strike on Friday

Pilots at Lufthansa's budget airline Germanwings are set to strike on Friday, grounding hundreds of flights across the country. READ  

Berlin's most expensive flat sells for €5.7 million
Berlin's Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most luxurious addresses in the city. Photo: DPA

Berlin's most expensive flat sells for €5.7 million

A Berlin property firm has set a city-wide record for the most expensive apartment sold, closing a deal for €5.7 million on a centrally-located penthouse. READ  

Uber pushes expansion despite legal pitfalls
Uber is going head-to-head with taxi services across Germany. Photo: DPA

Uber pushes expansion despite legal pitfalls

Chauffeur car service Uber plans to expand into more German cities and double its activity in the country by the end of the year in the face of bitter opposition and a court case. READ  

Germany to lock out 'cheating' EU migrants
Demonstrators hold up a banner against Roma deportations in 2013. Photo: DPA

Germany to lock out 'cheating' EU migrants

UPDATE: Germany on Wednesday announced new measures to stop EU citizens from abusing its social welfare system, reacting to what some politicians have labelled "poverty migration". READ  

Merkel accuses Isis of genocide
A photograph (right) made available by the jihadist affiliated group Albaraka News allegedly shows an Isis fighter tying up an Iraqi soldier. Photo: EPA/ALBARAKA NEWS/HANDOUT

Merkel accuses Isis of genocide

Chancellor Angela Merkel described atrocities committed by Isis in Iraq as genocide on Wednesday, going further than other western leaders in her condemnation of the group. READ  

Ebola patient treated at Hamburg hospital
An isolation ambulance approaches the specially outfitted aircraft carrying the Ebola patient at Hamburg airport. Photo: DPA

Ebola patient treated at Hamburg hospital

UPDATE: The first patient to be treated for Ebola in Germany arrived in Hamburg on Wednesday morning. READ  

Has Germany learned lessons of NSU failures?
Police images of the Beate Zschäpe, Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Bundlos, the three perpetrators of the NSU murders. Photo: DPA

Has Germany learned lessons of NSU failures?

The German government announced measures on Wednesday requiring police and courts to take tougher action against suspected hate crimes, following a neo-Nazi killing spree that went unsolved for more than a decade. READ  

The Local List
Ten of the oddest things found at border control
Photo: Zollamt/Shutterstock

Ten of the oddest things found at border control

Some of the strangest items found by German border control might make you think again about whether border checks are over the top. The Local List takes a look. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten of the oddest things found by German border control
Photo: Gerkan, Marg and Partners/Tegel Projekt GmbH/J. Mayer
Berlin
How will Berlin look in five years' time?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The best of Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit in 14 pictures
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germany sends burgers and sausages to Kurds
Photo: DPA
National
Size does matter in this case, rules judge
Photo: Matthias Kock
National
Tribes, ties and a movie: A German's Afghan life
Photo: DPA
Gallery
10 things to do before summer in Germany is really over
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,499
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd