UK & World News
Libya: UK Embassy Closes As Security Worsens
The British Embassy in Libya has suspended all operations and staff are leaving the country - due to a recent upsurge in violence.
It comes as 10 Britons were among 186 evacuated from Libya and taken to the Greek port of Piraeus on a Greek navy frigate.
Militias are now holding increasing sway in the country as the central government, police and military have lost much of their authority.
They have filled a power vacuum that was left after the ousting of long time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Fighting between rival militias has escalated over the past two weeks, prompting many western governments to pull their diplomats out of the country.
A British Embassy convoy was fired at during an attempted carjacking on Sunday, resulting in all UK nationals being urged to leave the country immediately.
Many UK diplomatic staff were evacuated earlier this week after intense fighting near the embassy compound but now the FCO has said it will suspend its consulate once it has assisted the departure of British nationals.
An FCO spokesman said: "The protection of our staff is paramount, and we assess that the current environment in Tripoli does not allow us to operate safely.
"We have therefore decided temporarily to relocate UK-based staff from the country."
The United States shut its embassy last Saturday and evacuated its diplomats by road to neighbouring Tunisia under the protection of F16 fighter jets.
On Friday, several explosions were heard and plumes of smoke seen in Libya's second largest city Benghazi, thought to be from air attacks by a renegade general on the bases of Islamic militias.
A coalition of Islamic militias had captured a number of army bases in Benghazi, the city that was the main headquarters for the opposition during resistance to Gaddafi.
Meanwhile, in the capital Tripoli, other rival militias have been battling for weeks over control of its airport.
Foreign nationals who were forced to flee Libya as the fighting intensified, arrived in Athens on Saturday morning aboard the Greek navy ship Salamis.
The majority of the evacuees on board were Greeks, but there were also 78 Chinese, 12 Cypriots, seven Belgians, one Russian and one Albanian, as well as the Britons.
Forty-seven French and British nationals evacuated on a French naval ship from Libya arrived Friday in France's southern port of Toulon.