U.S. evacuates embassy in Libya after clashes draw near, urges Americans to leave

By Kyle Johnson,

With skirmishes in Libya drawing close to the U.S. embassy, the State Department quietly evacuated everyone and urged that any Americans in the country do the same.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that the embassy isn't closed, just suspended for the time being, with embassy staff first flown to Tunisia, USA Today reports. Those evacuated, including U.S. Marines providing security, will travel from there.

"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," Harf said.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said that the military provided assistance in the evacuation, with surveillance planes and warplanes in the area to keep an eye on the situation.

According to Bloomberg, the country has been in an upheaval since the removal of leader Muammar Qaddafi and Tripoli has seen an increase in violence recently.

The move to quickly evacuate comes as the Obama administration remains sensitive to the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi on U.S. diplomatic buildings, which resulted in four American deaths. The incident remains under investigation by some in Congress.

With embassy operations suspended, the State Department has issued a warning to any citizens currently in Libya to leave and that any with plans to travel there, cancel them immediately.

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