The US is sending 1,000 Marines in an amphibious assault ship to Libya's coast as a “precautionary” move should the US embassy require evacuation, a US official said. Security concerns also led the US to suggest Americans in Libya "depart immediately."
Adding to tensions, gunmen attacked the Tripoli home of Libya’s new prime minister, Ahmed Maiteeq, on Tuesday. Businessman Maiteeq, 42, and his family escaped harm, according to AFP.
An aide to Maiteeq said "there was an attack with rockets and small arms on the prime minister's house" in Tripoli at 3:00 a.m. (0100 GMT). Maiteeq’s guards opened fire on the attackers, wounding and arresting two of them, the official added.
In reaction to the heightened strife in Libya, the USS Bataan, stocked with several helicopters in addition to the Marines, is to be in the nation’s coastal area “in a matter of days,” an anonymous US defense official said, according to AFP.
The preemptive move is a reaction to increasingly violent militia battles, which could threaten the American embassy’s security, the official said.
Based on escalating security concerns, the US State Department recommended Tuesday that Americans in Libya "depart immediately."
"Due to security concerns, the Department of State has limited staffing at Embassy Tripoli and is only able to offer very limited emergency services to US citizens in Libya," the travel warning said.
The US also has 250 available Marines, seven Osprey combat aircraft, and three refueling aircraft in Sigonella, Italy, AFP reported.