All News & Blogs
Date published: 1/25/2013
LONDON--Britain, Germany and the Netherlands urged their citizens to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Thursday in response to what they called an imminent threat against Westerners.
European officials told The Associated Press that schools were among the potential targets.
The warnings came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified to Congress about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. The warnings also came as French troops battled al-Qaida-linked militants in the West African nation of Mali, and followed the deaths of dozens of foreigners taken hostage by Islamist extremists in Algeria.
It remained, however, unclear if those two events were linked to the latest concerns about Libya.
The foreign ministries of the three European countries issued statements describing the threat as specific and imminent but none would elaborate.
The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya's capital far to the west of Benghazi, noted the Europeans' warnings but said there was "no specific information pointing to specific, imminent threats against U.S. citizens."
Benghazi, with a population of 1 million, is Libya's second-largest city and where the Libyan uprising against longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi began in February 2011. Gadhafi was eventually toppled and killed after NATO backed the rebel movement, and the Arab country has since struggled with increasing insecurity.
Al-Qaida-linked militants operate in Libya alongside other Islamist groups, and the country is awash in looted weapons.