US deploys warship off Libya

  • 27/05/2014

The United States is deploying an amphibious assault ship with about 1000 marines off the coast of Libya in case the US embassy has to be evacuated, a US defence official says.

The USS Bataan was to be in the area "in a matter of days," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, on Tuesday (local time).

The move was described as "precautionary" in case conditions in Libya, where militia battles have plunged the country into anarchy, worsen and require the embassy's evacuation.

The State Department said last week the embassy in Tripoli was operating normally despite an offensive launched against Islamist militias by a dissident general, Khalifa Haftar.

In addition to the 1000 marines on board, the Bataan is equipped with several helicopters.

The United States also has available 250 marines, seven tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft and three refuelling aircraft in Sigonella, Italy.

The precautions come amid ongoing controversy over a September 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in which four Americans, including ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed.

Meanwhile, armed men attacked the home of the country's new prime minister on Tuesday, two days after he won a parliamentary vote of confidence but with opposition to his proposed government rising.

Libya's General National Congress, or interim parliament, had elected 42-year-old businessman Ahmed Miitig as premier in a chaotic vote this month to replace Abdallah al-Thani, who had resigned for security reasons.

"There was an attack with rockets and small arms on the prime minister's house" in Tripoli at 3am, an aide to Miitig said on condition of anonymity.

The prime minister and his family were in the house at the time but escaped unharmed. His guards opened fire on the group, wounding two of them and arresting them, the official added.


source: newshub archive

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