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State Department updates Libyan travel warning

Tripoli

The security situation in Libya remains extremely dangerous for U.S. travelers, said the State Department on Jan. 2, strongly advising against travel to Tripoli and Benghazi and other areas in the country.

The warning updated the agency’s Sept. 12 alert issued after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in what was determined to be a terrorist action. The attack killed four Americans in the consulate, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.

In its latest alert, the State Department warned that travel to Benghazi, Tripoli, Bani Walid, and areas in southern border areas like Sabha and Kufra remain dangerous and strongly advised avoiding travel to those locations. “Because of ongoing instability and violence, the Department’s ability to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in these regions of Libya is extremely limited,” it said.

The State Department had ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Libya on Sept. 12 following the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi. “The security situation in Libya remains unpredictable,” it said on Jan. 2, citing sporadic episodes of civil unrest throughout the country.

It advised U.S. citizens to avoid areas where demonstrations occurred and to use caution around large gatherings, protests and demonstrations. It said even if the demonstrations were intended to be peaceful, they could turn confrontational and escalate into violence.   

U.S. citizens traveling, or remaining, in the country face stark options if they get into trouble. The agency said U.S. citizens in the country should make their own contingency emergency plans, use caution, limit nonessential travel, and maintain security awareness at all times.