Last updated: 31 August, 2014

Libyan Islamist militiamen move in to US embassy

Islamist militiamen have moved in to the American embassy compound in the Libyan capital after it was evacuated last month, an AFP photographer said on Sunday.

Members of the Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) group said they had gone in to secure the complex of several villas in southern Tripoli to prevent it from being looted.

“Diplomatic missions have been invited to return to Tripoli, and in the meantime we are here to secure the area,” one militiaman said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Washington evacuated its embassy staff on July 27, with Secretary of State John Kerry warning the mission had faced a “real risk” from fierce fighting between armed groups for control of Tripoli’s international airport.

Fajr Libya won the battle for the airport, seizing it on August 23 from nationalist fighters from Zintan, southwest of Tripoli, who had held it since the overthrow of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The AFP photographer said there was little sign of damage at the US diplomatic compound apart from some shrapnel scars on an exterior barbed wire-topped wall.