[Ed. – Yes, that’s “evacuates,” as in close the door and everybody leaves the country. In a different July, this would be very big news.]
The U.S. Embassy in Libya evacuated its personnel on Saturday because of heavy militia violence raging in the capital, Tripoli, the State Department said.
About 150 personnel, including 80 U.S. Marines were evacuated from the embassy in the early hours of Saturday morning and were driven across the border into Tunisia, U.S. officials confirm to CNN.
U.S. officials stress that this is a relocation of embassy personnel and the operations have been “temporarily suspended” until “the security situation on the ground improves.” The embassy will continue to operate from other locations.
A senior State Department official said some of the staff from Libya will be sent to other U.S. embassies in the region and others will come back to Washington.
CNN has learned the plan to evacuate the Americans was in the works for several days, but the decision to carry out the plan was made just in the last few days as the security situation around the embassy deteriorated.
President Obama approved the State Department recommendation to temporarily relocate personnel because of the “ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias in the immediate vicinity” of the embassy, a White House official said.