WASHINGTON – Coming on the heels of often animated Congressional hearings with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, over what happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, the British Foreign Office has issued an urgent call for its citizens to evacuate.
“We are aware of a specific, imminent threat to westerners in Benghazi. We advise against all travel to Benghazi and urge any British nationals who are there against our advice to leave immediately,” the statement says.
The alert also says, “Following French military intervention in Mali, there is a possibility of retaliatory attacks targeting western interests in the region.”
A U.S. intelligence source tells WTOP British expatriates and oil facilities are at risk.
As a result of the concern, British nationals are advised against all but essential travel to Tripoli, Zuwara, Az Zawiya, al Khums, Zlitan and Misrata, and the coastal towns from Ras Lanuf to the Egyptian Border, with the exception of Benghazi. We advise against all travel to all other areas of Libya, including Benghazi.
Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers, authorities say. They also believe there is a threat of kidnapping in Libya.
In general, British nationals (including dual nationals) and all westerners in Libya are being advised to “keep a low profile and avoid all but essential travel in their local area and to other parts of the country, particularly at night.”
The problem in Libya is law and order in the country is still being re-established and the threat from crime, including carjackings, remains high.
There is also limited police capacity to prevent or deal with the street crimes, including muggings.
The U.S. Department of State warned U.S. citizens in early January of the risks of traveling to Libya and strongly advises against all but essential travel to Tripoli and all travel to Benghazi, Bani Walid, and southern Libya, including border areas and the regions of Sabha and Kufra.