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Avoid Libya, U.S. warns citizens

  |   Aug. 27, 2012 at 11:54 AM
WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Despite resuming full consular services Monday at its embassy in Tripoli, the U.S. government warned its citizens to avoid traveling to Libya.

"The incidence of violent crime, especially carjacking and robbery, has become a serious problem," a travel advisory issued Monday read. "In addition, political violence in the form of assassinations and vehicle bombs has increased in both Benghazi and Tripoli."

The advisory comes more than one month after the first democratic election in Libya in a generation. However, the U.S. State Department said violence continues to be a problem in parts of the country.

Seven members of the Iranian Red Crescent Society were abducted in late July in Benghazi and the International Committee of the Red Cross pulled its staff from parts of the country because of renewed violence.

Fawzi Abdelali resigned as the country's interior minister following a series of attacks on Sufi Muslim shrines in Libya recently, the BBC reports. Adherents to the ultraconservative Salafi branch of Islam were blamed for the attacks.

NATO forces last year intervened in Libya's civil war to protect civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, who died after falling into rebel hands.

The advisory noted that while full consular services were restored Monday, the embassy's ability to respond was limited because parties responsible for much of the violence weren't under Tripoli's control.

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