US evacuates embassy officials from Libya

Friday, February 25, 2011

TRIPOLI - The US embassy in Libya has shut down temporarily and has evacuated all of its diplomats as violence mounts in the capital Tripoli, the State Department announced.

“Given current security conditions in Libya, coupled with our inability to guarantee fully the safety and security of our diplomatic personnel in the country, the Department of State has temporarily withdrawn embassy personnel from Tripoli and suspended all embassy operations effective February 25, 2011,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was quoted as saying in a statement by ABC News.

The announcement came just after a US government chartered flight carrying the remaining American diplomats took off from an airfield near downtown Tripoli, bound for Istanbul, Turkey.

Embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Friday made an unexpected appearance in Tripoli’s Green Square, greeting a crowd of his supporters in a show of strength that he still had control over the capital.

“We will die here on the soil of Libya. We will defeat foreign attempts as we did the former Italian imperialism,” he said waving the Libyan flag, DPA reported.

“We can defeat any aggression if necessary and arm the people,” Gaddafi said, in footage that was aired by Libyan state television Friday.

“You, the youth, be comfortable… dance, sing, stay up all night,” he said, Al Jazeera reported.

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