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Group of Britons leave Libya on board French boat

A group of UK nationals has left Libya on a French boat following the escalation in violence between rival militias in and around the capital, Tripoli.

"A small group of British nationals left Tripoli this morning on board a French frigate," a Foreign Office spokesperson said.

"Our advice remains that British nationals should leave by commercial means still available, and we are monitoring the situation and keeping our advice under constant review."

Read: Libya: Huge fire as rockets hit fuel tanks near Tripoli

Libya: Huge fire as rockets hit fuel tanks near Tripoli

A rocket attack on fuel tanks near Tripoli airport in Libya has caused a huge "out of control" fire as clashes between rival militias intensified.

Smoke rises in the sky near Tripoli
Smoke rises in the sky after a rocket hit a fuel storage tank near Tripoli. Credit: Reuters

"It is out of control. The second tank has been hit and the firefighters have withdrawn from the site as the fighting has resumed in the area", the National Oil Company Mohamed Al-Harrai told Reuters.

Read: Embassy convoy attacked as Brits told to flee Libya

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Libya asks for international help amid fighting

Libya has asked for international help after an oil depot caught fire amid clashes over the country's international airport in Tripoli.

The country's interim government said in a statement posted on its website that the fighting between rival militias caused the blaze, which could trigger a "humanitarian and environmental disaster."

Tripoli airport
Tripoli International Airport was heavily damaged during shelling last week. Credit: Reuters

It appealed for "international help" but did not specify what sort of help it wants.

Libyan TV stations called on residents to evacuate areas within a three-mile radius of the airport. Many Libyan families responded to the call and scrambled to leave their homes.

Read: Embassy convoy attacked as Brits told to flee Libya

Dozens killed in Libya as western diplomats flee

At least 36 people were killed during the weekend's clashes between Libyan Special Forces and Islamist militants in Benghazi, security officials said.

The government said more than 150 people have died, many of them civilian, in the capital Tripoli and Benghazi in two weeks of fighting as clashes forced UK and other foreign diplomats to pull out of the country.

Militants and government forces clash in Benghazi.
Militants and government forces clash in Benghazi. Credit: Reuters

Read: Embassy convoy attacked as Brits told to flee Libya

France and Germany join UK with orders to leave Libya

France and Germany have joined Britain in calling on their citizens in Libya to leave the country amid the worst violence since the war that brought the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011.

Black plumes of smoke are seen in the vicinity of Camp Thunderbolt amid deadly clashes between militants, former rebel fighters and government forces in Benghazi.
Black plumes of smoke are seen amid deadly clashes between militants, former rebel fighters and government forces in Libya's second biggest city Benghazi. Credit: Reuters/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

The United States evacuated its embassy in Libya yesterday with diplomats driven across the border into Tunisia under heavy military escort after rising trouble in Tripoli.

British Embassy convoy shot at in Libya

A British Embassy convoy came under fire during an attempted carjacking in Libya according to Michael Aron, the UK's ambassador to the country.

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.@mwattinleebi There was an attempted carjacking of a British Embassy convoy this morning. Shots were fired at our vehicles but all safe.

Embassy staff escaped unscathed from the attack which occurred this morning.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) recently updated its travel advice to state: "British nationals in Libya should leave now by commercial means."

Read: Britons urged to leave Libya because of fighting

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Britons urged to leave Libya because of fighting

Britons living in Libya should leave the country immediately because of the "greater intensity of fighting," the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has warned.

The department warned that violent clashes between armed groups are possible across the country, including in the country's capital Tripoli, particularly at night.

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The FCO advise against all travel to #Libya; British nationals in Libya should leave now by commercial means http://t.co/XXvTMhnJV3

They said: "Fighting can break out in many places and at short notice. It can become serious quickly putting those in the area at risk. You should remain vigilant at all times."

They added: "Keep a low profile and try to limit travelling around as much as possible, particularly at night. There is a high threat from crime."

There are believed to be between 100 and 300 Britons in the north African country.

Tripoli International Airport was closed a fortnight ago following clashes between armed groups nearby, but any Britons remaining should use "commercial means" to leave, they said.

The British Embassy remains open but with reduced staff and a limited ability to provide consular assistance.

Rival militias turn Tripoli airport into battleground

Clashes between rival militias at Libya's main international airport have turned the main terminal building into a field hospital and damaged 11 passenger jets and the control tower.

At least 15 people have died in the past two days in the Libyan capital and Benghazi, where forces loyal to a former ally of Colonel Gaddafi attacked Islamist militia bases.

Cars at Tripoli airport have been destroyed by the clashes
Cars at Tripoli airport have been destroyed by the clashes Credit: Reuters

The fighting has forced flights to be suspended and left Libya cut off from the rest of the world.

Tripoli's airport area is controlled by former fighters from the western town of Zintan, who have come under attack by rival militias in recent days.

Fighters stand outside the departures terminal at Tripoli's international airport
Fighters stand outside the departures terminal at Tripoli's international airport Credit: Reuters

The battles have prompted the United Nations to evacuate its staff from Libya, where the government is struggling to maintain control over the country.

An official said that the control tower at the airport would need replacement equipment to be imported before it can re-open.

Read: 'Seven killed' in clashes in Libyan capital

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