Security forces and residents gather in the Tripoli street housing the Saudi embassy on May 18, 2013 following a bomb blast
Security forces and residents gather in the Tripoli street housing the Saudi embassy on May 18, 2013 following a bomb blast © Mahmud Turkia - AFP
Security forces and residents gather in the Tripoli street housing the Saudi embassy on May 18, 2013 following a bomb blast
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AFP
Last updated: May 19, 2014

Saudi closes Libya embassy and evacuates diplomats

Saudi Arabia closed its embassy in Tripoli on Monday and evacuated all its diplomats over "security" concerns in Libya, the SPA state news agency reported.

The Saudi ambassador to Libya Mohammed Mahmud al-Ali told SPA the kingdom also closed its consulate in the North African country "due to the current circumstances and the security situation."

He said all diplomats in Libya were flown out of Libya in a decisionsmade "in coordination with the Libyan side."

The mission will reopen and the diplomats will return "when the situation stabilises in the Libyan capital," he added.

"We are in contact with the Libyan side on all developments."

Libya has suffered a series of attacks on its leaders and foreign diplomats in the increasingly lawless North African country, three years after NATO-backed rebels ended Moamer Kadhafi's four-decade dictatorship.

The situation has descended into chaos since Friday when a rogue general launched an offensive against Islamists in the eastern city of Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 uprising.

On Sunday armed groups attacked the parliament in Tripoli as well as an air base in the east of the country.

Algeria announced on Friday that it has closed its embassy and consulate in Tripoli citing a "real and imminent threat" to its diplomats.

Libya's central government has struggled to assert its control over the vast, mostly desert country, which is awash with heavy weapons and effectively ruled by a patchwork of former rebel militias.

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