London sees imminent threat in Benghazi

Jan. 24, 2013 at 10:02 AM
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LONDON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- The British government warned Thursday that it was aware of "a specific, imminent threat" to Westerners in Benghazi, Libya.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a travel warning Thursday for Libya. It said it was advising against all but essential travel to major metropolitan areas in Libya because of the high threat of terrorism.

"We are aware of a specific, imminent threat to Westerners in Benghazi," the warning read. "We advise against all travel to Benghazi and urge any British nationals who are there against our advice to leave immediately."

The Italian government recently announced it was closing its diplomatic outpost in Benghazi after the Italian envoy to Tripoli was attacked, but uninjured, when he left the consulate's grounds. Early this week, the country's deputy defense minister was uninjured when his bodyguards traded fire with former rebels at an airbase near the city.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faced lawmakers Wednesday to answer questions surrounding a Sept. 11 raid on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The attack left four U.S. citizens, including Ambassador Chris Hill, dead.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said "no one" took the issue more seriously than Clinton and U.S. President Barack Obama.

Clinton responded angrily to questions that U.S. officials misrepresented the incident in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

"We had four dead Americans," she said. "What difference at this point does it make (why it happened)?"

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