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Russia evacuates Libyan embassy
October 4, 2013, 5:37 am

In a string of recent attacks, Libyan armed groups are looking to challenge central government control [Getty Images]

In a string of recent attacks, Libyan armed groups are looking to challenge central government control [Getty Images]

Following an attack on its Libyan Embassy, Russia said Thursday that most employees of its embassy were evacuated to Tunisia and will return to Moscow on Friday.

“Libyan Foreign Minister Muhammad Abdelaziz, who visited the embassy, told the Russian ambassador that Libya was currently unable to ensure the security and safety of the embassy, and recommended its employees to leave the diplomatic mission,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.

On Wednesday evening, a group of unidentified gunmen fired at the embassy in Tripoli and tried to force their way into the compound. No injuries were reported from the diplomatic mission.

“The attackers opened fire and tore the Russian flag,” the Russian Itar Tass news agency cited unnamed sources as saying.

The spokesman said all employees of the embassy and their family members have crossed the border into Tunisia by Thursday afternoon.

The Emergency Situations Ministry is sending a plane to fly them back to Moscow on Friday, he added.

According to Lukashevich, the crowd were angered by the killing, as they saw it, of a Libyan by a Russian woman.

There have been a number of attacks on Western diplomats by militant groups. Militants linked to al Qaeda affiliates attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on September 11, 2012.

A group of Russian diplomats and senior employees of the embassy will stay temporarily in Tunisia in order to maintain work contacts with Libya until the safety of the mission is guaranteed, the spokesman said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also asked Russians to refrain from travelling to Libya.

After the attack, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded that Libyan authorities take comprehensive measures to ensure the unobstructed evacuation and fastest restoration of safe conditions for the resumption of normal operations of the embassy.

In a string of recent attacks, Libyan armed groups are looking to challenge central government control.

Libya’s government has been struggling to build up an effective army and police force since Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow.

To help maintain security, Libya’s government relies on militias made up of thousands of Libyans who took up arms against Gaddafi. But these rival groups have often involved into security threats themselves.

 

Source: Agencies

 

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