Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Embassy convoy attacked in Libya

The Foreign Office is calling on Britons to leave Libya

A British Embassy convoy in Libya has come under fire in an attempted carjacking, as Britons were urged to leave the country immediately.

Embassy staff escaped unscathed from the attack which occurred this morning.

Michael Aron, t he UK's ambassador to Libya, wrote on Twitter: " There was an attempted carjacking on a British Embassy convoy this morning. Shots were fired at our vehicles but all staff safe."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice to state: " British nationals in Libya should leave now by commercial means."

The United States closed its embassy yesterday and safely evacuated its diplomats by road to neighbouring Tunisia, escorted by F-16 fighter jets.

Mr Aron said the attempted carjacking occurred between the capital Tripoli and Zawiya, which is en route to the Tunisian border.

The British Embassy remains open but with reduced staff and a limited ability to provide consular assistance.

The FCO warned about the "greater intensity of fighting" in Tripoli and the likelihood of further attacks on foreigners.

There are believed to be between 100 and 300 Britons in the north African country.

Tripoli International Airport was closed a fortnight ago following clashes between armed groups nearby.

A number of foreigners have been shot dead in Libya since December and further attacks are expected.

There is a high threat of terrorism, and several foreigners have been kidnapped this year.

The FCO warned: " Violent clashes between armed groups are possible across the country, including in Tripoli, particularly at night.

"Fighting can break out in many places and at short notice. It can become serious quickly putting those in the area at risk. You should remain vigilant at all times.

"Keep a low profile and try to limit travelling around as much as possible, particularly at night. There is a high threat from crime."

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