The United States evacuated its diplomats from the Libyan capital Tripoli on Saturday.
Deputy spokesperson for the US State Department Marie Harf said the decision came “due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias” and that ” the location of our embassy is in very close proximity to intense fighting… between armed Libyan factions.”
Clashes at the Libyan Tripoli airport erupted Friday night between rival militias seeking control over the international airport.
The clashes, the most violent since the overthrow of former president Muammar Gaddafi, started on 13 July and have killed 47 and injured 120, according to official estimates from the Libyan Ministry of Health.
The clashes began when militants backed by fighters from the city of Misrata launched an assault on the airport, which has been under the control of militants from the town of Zitan for the past three years. Previously those militias had fought together against the overthrown president.
The interim Libyan government said that it had asked the leaders of Zitan and Misrata several times to reach a ceasefire and conduct talks. The government also said in a Friday statement that it would not “abandon the goals of the 17 February Revolution”, and that “the enemies of the revolution will not deprive the people of a state of law and institutions”.
In its Friday statement, the health ministry said that a continuation of the conflict will render it and its hospitals unable to provide medical services, citing hindered movement of medical units due to fuel shortages and security issues. It added that the foreign airlines no longer transport the injured, and foreign hospitals that the ministry deals with are expected to stop receiving patients due to a high accumulation of debt.
On Friday Libyan authorities deported 78 Egyptian travelers back to the Cairo airport for security reasons.
Border guards arrested 45 Egyptians attempting crossing over to Libya through the desert Friday night.
The detainees are to face military prosecution with charges of entering a restricted military area and attempting to illegally immigrate, reported state-owned Al-Ahram.