By Umar Khan and Nigel Ash
Tripoli, 4 August 2013:
Today’s scheduled 24 hour closure of the US embassy in Tripoli appears to . . .[restrict]have been extended until Saturday.
Though there has been no formal announcement yet on the embassy’s web site, it was reported this evening from Washington that the State Department has decided to extend the closure of 19 embassies in Middle East and North African countries, including Libya, for another five days.
Most Foreign missions and NGOs in Libya seem to have tightened their security. At least seven scheduled events involving expatriates were cancelled today, including three hotel-based functions and one reception at an ambassadorial residence. Three other gatherings, two of them by foreign oil companies were called off. There have been reports that some organisations have been advising staff not to leave their accommodation.
A senior security source confirmed to the Libya Herald that there were credible threats of some sort of attack, but indicated there was little firm detail. The source mentioned but refused to name, six hotels that were being “monitored” as possible targets. Tuesday week ago, the five-star Corinthia was the supposed target for a failed mortar attack, which damaged a nearby block of flats. Last Tuesday a car bomb was reportedly defused outside the city’s other five-star hotel, the Mahari Radisson Blu hotel. Security has since been beefed up at both establishments.
The head of Tripoli Local Council (TLC) Sadaat ElBadri told the Libya Herald that he had heard about the threat. “Unfortunately,” he said, “there is a threat every other day but for this specific day I don’t have a lot of information.”