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Staff pulled from British Embassy in Tripoli

May 10, 2013 at 9:07 AM

TRIPOLI, Libya, May 10 (UPI) -- A small number of staff was pulled out of the British Embassy in Tripoli because of political and security concerns, the British government said Friday.

"There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping," the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement. "This threat is increased due to a threat of retaliatory attacks following the French intervention in Mali."

Libyan security has lapsed in the wake of the war. The French Embassy in Tripoli was bombed last month and U.S. lawmakers are debating what happened during an assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in September.

Recently, Libyan ministerial buildings have come under siege by armed gangs frustrated by the legacy of Moammar Gadhafi in post-war politics.

"Given the security implications of the ongoing political uncertainty, the British Embassy is temporarily withdrawing a small number of staff," the FCO said Friday.

The embassy remained opened. The British government, however, said it was advising against all but essential travel to Tripoli and other major metropolitan areas because of lingering tensions. Travel to Benghazi should be avoided.

Ongoing attacks on government ministries in Tripoli were expected and Libya poses a high-level threat in general, the government said.

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