The State Department announced on Saturday the U.S. embassy in Libya has been shut down, and American diplomats evacuated by a military escort, as fighting intensifies in the capital. “Tripoli has been embroiled for weeks in inter-militia violence that has killed and wounded dozens on all sides,” the Associated Press reports. “The [State] department said embassy operations will be suspended until a determination is made that the security situation has improved.” Three years after Muammar Gaddafi’s ouster, militia violence has plagued the country and the deteriorating security situation has created worries that the fighting could spill across Libya’s borders.
“The withdrawal underscored the Obama administration’s concern about the heightened risk to American diplomats abroad, particularly in Libya where memories of the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in the eastern city of Benghazi are still vivid and the political uproar over it remain fresh ahead of a new congressional investigation into the incident,” according to the AP. The embassy was already operating with a limited staff due to security concerns. A State department spokeswoman said the fighting was taking place very close to the embassy, which led to the second American embassy closure in Tripoli in three years.