• Germany's news in English

Germans urgently warned to leave Benghazi

The Local · 25 Jan 2013, 08:14

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

Story continues below…

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.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd