U.S. Evacuates Embassy in Libya

An MV-22B Osprey from the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response prepares to leave Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, to evacuate personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya on Saturday.

USMC Cpl. Shawn Valosin

AA Font size + Print

An MV-22B Osprey from the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response prepares to leave Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, to evacuate personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya on Saturday.

Ongoing violence between Libyan militias forced the State Department to evacuate the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli on Saturday. By Stephanie Gaskell

United States military personnel evacuated the U.S. embassy in the Libyan capital of Tripoli after heavy fighting forced the State Department to order its staff out of the country.

“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,” State Department spokesman Marie Harf said in a statement Saturday.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the evacuation took five hours to complete, “without incident.” CNN reported that the plans were put in place several days ago, but the evacuation wasn’t ordered until Saturday.

“All embassy personnel were relocated, including the Marine security guards who were providing security at the embassy and during the movement. The embassy staff was driven in vehicles to Tunisia. During movement, F-16’s, ISR assets and an Airborne Response Force with MV-22 Ospreys provided security,” Kirby said.

The embassy remains open, but the State Department also urged U.S. citizens in Libya to “depart immediately.”

 “Securing our facilities and ensuring the safety of our personnel are top department priorities, and we did not make this decision lightly. Security has to come first. Regrettably, we had to take this step because the location of our embassy is in very close proximity to intense fighting and ongoing violence between armed Libyan factions,” Harf said.

The evacuation comes nearly three years after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s regime was overthrown. The country has been embroiled in a civil war as warring militias fight for control of the government. Two years ago, an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and two other Americans.

In a statement, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., said he is praying for the safety of all Americans in Libya. “I wish them a safe return, and for the safety of American troops watching over them.”

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from DefenseOne.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Top 5 Findings: Security of Internet of Things To Be Mission-Critical

    As federal agencies increasingly leverage these capabilities, government security stakeholders now must manage and secure a growing number of devices, including those being used remotely at the “edge” of networks in a variety of locations. With such security concerns in mind, Government Business Council undertook an indepth research study of federal government leaders in January 2017. Here are five of the key takeaways below which, taken together, paint a portrait of a government that is increasingly cognizant and concerned for the future security of IoT.

  • Coordinating Incident Response on Posts, Camps and Stations

    Effective incident response on posts, camps, and stations is an increasingly complex challenge. An effective response calls for seamless conversations between multiple stakeholders on the base and beyond its borders with civilian law enforcement and emergency services personnel. This whitepaper discusses what a modern dispatch solution looks like -- one that brings together diverse channels and media, simplifies the dispatch environment and addresses technical integration challenges to ensure next generation safety and response on Department of Defense posts, camps and stations.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.