Tripoli, 3 August:
The United States issued a security alert on Thursday to its citizens in the MENA region, leading to the . . .[restrict]closure of its embassies on 4th August, including its Tripoli embassy.
The first warning was published by the US State Department on 1st August stating that “The Department of State has instructed certain U.S. Embassies and Consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations on Sunday, August 4. The Department has been apprised of information that, out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations, indicates we should institute these precautionary steps. Embassy Tripoli will be closed on Sunday, August 4. U.S. citizens requiring emergency assistance should call the Duty Officer at 218-91-379-456”.
The statement would not reveal any details on the potential threat saying that “The Department, when conditions warrant, takes steps like this to balance our continued operations with security and safety. However, beyond this announcement we do not discuss specific threat information, security considerations or measures, or other steps we may be taking”.
On the 2nd August, the US embassy’s Tripoli website further added under the heading Travel Warning Worldwide “ The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula. Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August. This Travel Alert expires on August 31, 2013”.
The statement further added that the US “continue to work closely with other nations on the threat from international terrorism, including from al-Qa’ida. Information is routinely shared between the U.S. and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.
The statement advised all US citizens to register their presence in Libya with their embassy: “We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or living in Libya enroll in the Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) website. STEP enrollment ensures you receive updated information on travel and security within Libya, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.
For further information, U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for Libya.” [/restrict]