Brits urged to leave Benghazi

The Foreign Office today urged British nationals to leave Benghazi in Libya "in response to a specific, imminent threat to westerners".Germany and the Netherlands have warned their citizens to do the same.

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Report: Schools among potential targets in Benghazi

Schools are among the possible targets of an "imminent" threat to Westerners in the Libyan city of Benghazi, according to reports.

All Britons have been urged by the Government to leave the city after it became aware of the "specific and imminent threat."

European officials, who did not want to be named, said that schools, businesses and offices of non-governmental organisations were among the potential targets, according to the Associated Press.

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US Defence Secretary: 'It's no mystery Benghazi is dangerous'

US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta has said that the danger in Benghazi is "no mystery" as the British, Dutch and German Foreign Offices in advising citizens to leave the Libyan city of Benghazi.

US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta speaking today

He said, "It's no mystery that it's a dangerous situation there and everybody in that area I think is very concerned that they simply can't provide the security necessary to protect people in those places. I think that's why these countries have made the decision that they've made.

"As far as I know we have not been asked to participate in moving any people out of Benghazi."

Libyan 'surprise' at FCO's Benghazi warning to Brits

The deputy leader of the Libyan congress, Jumma Atigahas, has said he was surprised at hearing of the Foreign Office's warning of an immediate threat to foreigners in Benghazi.

Jumma Atiga, deputy leader of the Libyan congress Credit: RTV

He said: "We were surprised at this announcement, but let me say in principle any country has the right to warn their citizens if they felt there was any danger, however slight that danger is.

"In regards to Benghazi, everyone knows that Benghazi is targeted because of its high symbolic significance in leading the revolution and there have been a number of incidents there.

"But I affirm that Benghazi now has a security plan to protect its citizens and foreigners.

"I want to say that terrorism has no religion or country.

"Terrorism can strike anywhere in the world, even in countries like Britain who aren't immune to terrorism.

"But to have this announcement that hints at something that doesn't really exist on the ground is not justified enough in our opinion."

Dutch and German citizens told to leave Benghazi

Germany and the Netherlands have warned their citizens to leave the city of Benghazi due to a specific threat to Westerners.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry warned its citizens to avoid Benghazi and the area to its east, saying the security situation was uncertain and that there was a risk of violence.

"All journeys, including for transit, and stays in certain regions, specifically Benghazi and the region to its east, are advised against," the ministry said on its website.

The German Foreign Ministry declined to give any further details to explain its warning. Berlin had warned Germans since last week's deadly attack by Islamist militants in Algeria of a heightened risk of violence or kidnapping for Westerners across North Africa and countries bordering the Sahara.

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Clinton claims that 'Algerian militants had weapons from Libya'

Yesterday US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Algerian militants involved in the attack on a desert gas plant had weapons from Libya.

"There is no doubt that the Algerian terrorists had weapons from Libya. There is no doubt that the Malian remnants of AQIM have weapons from Libya."

AQIM - Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb - is an affiliate of al Qaeda.

Hillary Clinton speaking yesterday

Hillary Clinton was testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the September attack by Islamist militants in which the US ambassador and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi.

Foreign Office: 'Terrorism risk in ongoing in the region'

Foreign Office minister David Lidington, told the BBC that the risk of terrorism in the region has been ongoing for some time but that the Foreign Office would not issue its current advice to leave if there were not serious reason to do so.

He said:

The terrorism risk has been there for some time, before Mali and before the Algeria crisis of last week.

I cannot comment further on operational matters but the safety of Britons is our primary concern at the Foreign Office.

We only issue the kind of advice we have, to leave Benghazi, if we have information on a credible and imminent threat.

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