A Libyan militia group claims that it has “secured” the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Fox News is reporting.
Dawn of Libya, an organization consisting of militants from several organizations, announced that it had claimed the embassy, which has been evacuated for a month. The group posted a video showing men playing in the embassy’s pool.
An Associated Press journalist was allowed to walk through the embassy, and noted, that while several windows at the compound appeared to have been broken, most of the equipment left over there had not been touched. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones said, via Twitter, that it appears the ISIS militants are partying in the embassy’s residential annex.
@AmCo15 The YouTube appears to be a residential annex of the US mission but cannot say definitively since not there.
— Safira Deborah (@SafiraDeborah) August 31, 2014
She also added that it appeared the embassy was being “safeguarded” and not “ransacked,” though she could not confirm because she was not there.
The embassy in Tripoli has been vacant since July 26th, when all personnel there were evacuated to neighboring Tunisia under escort by U.S. military personnel (see this Inquisitr article). All operations at the embassy have been suspended indefinitely, according to the Daily Mail, until the situation improves.
Since the violent uprising in 2011 that deposed former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has been torn apart by sectarian violence as various Islamist militia groups vie for power. The various militia groups have inflicted attacks on each other, on civilians and on political targets.
On September 11th, 2012, a terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, and State Department information management officer Sean Smith.
As recently as Saturday, Islamist forces loyal to retired general Khalifa Haftar clashed with other militias, including some from Ansar al-Sharia – the group the State Department claims was responsible for the Benghazi attacks – resulting in 10 deaths and dozens of casualties.
The Dawn of Libya has claimed that fighting in Tripoli has subsided and has called on foreign diplomats to return to the area, including to the U.S. Embassy.
[Image courtesy of buzzfeed.com]