WASHINGTON: The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli is being safeguarded and has not been ransacked after Islamist militias moved into an annex of the complex, America’s ambassador to Libya said Sunday.
U.S. Ambassador Deborah Jones said on Twitter that there was no indication the complex, which has been mothballed since staff were evacuated last month, had been damaged.
“To my knowledge and & recent photos the US Embassy Tripoli chancery & compound is now being safeguarded and has not been ransacked,” she said.
A video that emerged on YouTube showed a crowd of cheering men standing on buildings near a swimming pool.
Several men are seen diving into the pool off a nearby rooftop, to a chorus of cheers.
Jones, who is in Malta, stressed however that the area depicted in the video “appears to be a residential annex” of the U.S. mission, adding that she “cannot say definitively since not there.”
“Those who have actually visited the embassy know the truth,” she posted.
An AFP photographer who was at the embassy compound on Sunday said Islamist militiamen had moved in to buildings in the complex.
Members of the Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) group said they had gone in to secure the complex of several villas in southern Tripoli to prevent it from being looted.
Washington evacuated its embassy staff on July 27, with Secretary of State John Kerry warning the mission had faced a “real risk” from fierce fighting between armed groups for control of Tripoli’s international airport.
The AFP photographer said there was little sign of damage at the U.S. diplomatic compound apart from some shrapnel scars on an exterior barbed wire-topped wall.