US Denies Reports Libyan Embassy 'Ransacked'
There were conflicting reports Sunday evening on who, If anyone, was in control of the abandoned US embassy in Tripoli, Libya. According to reports, an Islamist militia group had taken over the building and a residential compound attached to it, and were “guarding” it to prevent other groups from invading it.
The leader of the Dawn of Libya group, led by Moussa Abu-Zaqia, told reporters Sunday that the group has been occupying the embassy since last week, fending off attempted invasions by other militias. Abu-Zaqia produced several photos of what he said were militia members swimming in an algae-filled pool on the grounds of the embassy.
Other reports stated that the embassy had been ransacked, with documents strewn about, windows broken, and other damage.
However, American officials said that the claims were untrue. US Ambassador to Libya Debra Jones said that the militiamen were not on the grounds of the embassy, only in the adjacent residential compound. Writing in a Twitter post from Malta, where most members of the US delegation in Libya left for several weeks ago, Jones said that the embassy had not been damaged or taken over by anyone.
“To my knowledge and per recent photos the US Embassy Tripoli chancery and compound is now being safeguarded and has not been ransacked," Jones wrote on Twitter. She did not immediately respond to a request from news agencies to elaborate. The State Department had no comment.