US evacuating most diplomatic staff in Libya
WASHINGTON – (VNS) The United States is evacuating most of its diplomatic staff from Libya, flying them to Germany, after an attack on its Benghazi offices that left four dead, US officials confirmed on Wednesday.
All diplomatic missions around the world have also been ordered to review their security, a senior US official told journalists, adding that three US diplomatic staff had also been wounded in Tuesday's militant attack.
"We are still operating within the confusion of first reports, many details of what happened in Benghazi are still unknown or unclear," the official said.
Initially all American staff from Benghazi, including the wounded and the bodies of the dead, were evacuated back to Tripoli in the hours after the attack on a chartered plane that had to make a couple of return flights.
Those staff "are now in the process of being evacuated to Germany," the official said, adding the wounded would be treated there and the remains would be flown home.
"In the meantime we have taken our embassy in Tripoli down to emergency staffing levels," the official added, asking not to be identified.
"Last night all of our diplomatic posts around the world were ordered to review their security posture and to take all necessary steps to enhance it if those were deemed necessary."
The UN Security Council and UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday strongly condemned the attack on the US mission in Benghazi in which the US ambassador to Libya was killed.
The UN Council and Ban issued separate statements which hit out at the attack "in strongest terms."
The 15-nation Security Council also condemned an attack on the US embassy in Cairo. Both have been blamed on mobs angered by an anti-Islam film.
Meanwhile, members of Libya's 200-strong national assembly on Wednesday elected technocrat Mustafa Abu Shagur as the country's new prime minister in a close vote.
Shagur, previously deputy prime minister, won 96 votes, beating the liberal candidate Mahmud Jibril by just two votes to take control of Libya's transitional administration for the next 18 months.
Shagur is considered close to Islamist groups and won after two rounds of voting thanks to the support of deputies from the Justice and Construction Party, which sprang out of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood.AFP