British embassy in Libya aware of reports of threats

TRIPOLI Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:46am IST

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TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The British embassy in the Libyan capital said it was aware of reports of a potential threat against it, days after London urged British nationals to leave the eastern city of Benghazi due to a "specific and imminent threat" against Westerners.

"We are aware of reports of a potential threat against the British embassy in Tripoli and we are liaising closely with the Libyan government," an embassy spokeswoman said on Monday.

"There is no change to our travel advice, we still recommend against all but essential travel to Tripoli."

No further details were given. Britain has warned of a growing militant threat in North Africa, which Prime Minister David Cameron has called a "magnet for jihadists".

This comes after the deaths of at least 38 hostages in an attack on Algeria's In Amenas gas complex near the Libyan border, and the start of French military operations in Mali.

Libyan officials said they were not aware of such reports, cited by the embassy.

"The British embassy has not informed us of any threats towards it and there has been no coordination between us," Deputy Interior Minister Omar al-Khadrawi told Reuters.

"We were meeting with the foreign affairs ministry this morning and are not aware of any threats. This could be a way the British embassy is trying to justify its previous Benghazi advisory."

Last week's call, echoed by other European countries, to leave Libya's second largest city irked Libyans keen to win foreign investment to rebuild a fractured infrastructure and boost the oil industry after the 2011 revolution which toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; additional reporting by Ali Shuaib; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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