Video: Westerners told to leave Benghazi immediately
Published 25/01/2013 | 05:00
ALL westerners were told to leave the Libyan city of Benghazi yesterday after diplomats received warnings of an 'imminent' terror threat in the wake of the Algerian hostage siege.
The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that it had advised all Irish citizens in Benghazi to leave the city immediately.
The British Foreign Office has been advising against travel to the area since September, but stepped up its warning yesterday in response to 'specific' intelligence.
One intelligence source said that MI6 had picked up a 'credible threat' linked to last week's Algerian raid, in which al-Qa'ida militants stormed a BP gas complex and killed dozens of foreign workers.
Sources in the Libyan city suggested that the threat had been made against the British School of Benghazi, which announced it would close for a week at least, and other international 'institutes'.
There have already been several reports of links between Libya and the Algerian hostage-takers. The weapons used by the kidnappers were said to have come from Libya, while some of the militants are also reported to have been involved in last year's attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the one-eyed al-Qa'ida militia leader who masterminded the Algerian operation, is still on the loose and has close ties to Libya.
Yesterday's warning is a serious blow to Libya's post-revolution credibility and raises fears of a dangerous 'security vacuum' in the country. (© Daily Telegraph, London)