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Germany evacuates embassy in Libya

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Germany evacuates embassy in Libya
Black smoke billowing from a storage depot of fuel that was hit by a rocket the night before near the airport in Tripoli on July 28th. Photo: EPA/SABRI ELMHEDWI
19:02 CEST+02:00
UPDATE: Germany pulled its embassy staff out of Tripoli on Monday, a day after advising all its citizens currently in Libya to leave the strife-torn country immediately.

"We have evacuated," a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office confirmed, adding that the German Embassy was still open.

A handful of staff are still working there. The Foreign Office did not say how many diplomats had been pulled out.

"The situation is extremely unpredictable and uncertain," the Foreign Office said on Sunday. "German nationals are at increased risk of kidnapping and attacks."

Two weeks of fighting between militias in Libya's capital Tripoli have left 97 people dead.

The United States evacuated its Libyan embassy staff under air cover Saturday as they faced a "real risk" from fierce fighting around Tripoli airport, Secretary of State John Kerry said.

The airport was closed on July 13th following clashes between armed groups in the area.
   
Britain later updated its advice to warn against travel to Libya, and told those already there to leave.
 
"British nationals in Libya should leave now by commercial means." Britain's embassy will remain open but with reduced staff, and its ability
to provide consular assistance "is very limited," the Foreign Office said.

'High terror threat'
 
The British ministry warned of a high threat of terrorism, noting that a number of foreign nationals have been shot dead in recent months.
   
It told those still in Libya, believed to number between 100 and 300, to avoid demonstrations or large crowds and to "keep a low profile".
   
The US announcement that it was evacuating its embassy came hours after Libya's interim government warned that the clashes between militia vying for control of the strategic airport were threatening to tear the country apart.
   
Czech, Maltese and Austrian foreign ministries have ongoing advice not to travel to Libya.
   
Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway have all also advised against travel, while Sweden has also told its citizens to leave the second city of Benghazi.
   
Spain's foreign ministry "very strongly" recommends that all Spaniards leave Libya "immediately" and Switzerland has warned citizens that it would find it difficult to rescue them should the situation deteriorate.
   
Belgium on July 16th told nationals to leave the country "immediately" and Turkish citizens were advised to leave on July 24th, a day before its government suspended operations at the Tripoli embassy.
   
Austria, Italy and Portugal have all warned nationals against travelling around the country, with Austria saying that the risk of terrorist attack was particularly high in Benghazi.
 

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