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Russia evacuates diplomats from Libya after embassy attack

Russia said Thursday that most employees of its embassy in Libya were evacuated to Tunisia and will return to Moscow on Friday, after the embassy was attacked by unknown gunmen.

"Libyan Foreign Minister Muhammad Abdelaziz, who visited the embassy, told the Russian ambassador that Libya was currently unable to ensure the security and safety of the embassy, and recommended its employees to leave the diplomatic mission," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.

On Wednesday evening, a group of unidentified gunmen fired at the embassy in Tripoli and attempted to enter the compound. No injuries were reported on the side of the diplomatic mission.

According to Lukashevich, the attack was directly provoked by the murder of a Libyan officer by Russian national Yekaterina Dmitriyevna on Tuesday and her stabbing of the officer's mother.

The spokesman said all employees of the embassy and their family members have crossed the border into Tunisia by Thursday afternoon. The Emergency Situations Ministry is sending a plane to fly them back to Moscow on Friday, he added.

A group of Russian diplomats and senior employees of the embassy will stay temporarily in Tunisia in order to maintain work contacts with Libya until the safety of the mission is guaranteed, the spokesman said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also asked Russians to refrain from travelling to Libya.

After the attack, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded that Libyan authorities take comprehensive measures to ensure the unobstructed evacuation and fastest restoration of safe conditions for the resumption of normal operations of the embassy.

[Source: Xinhua, Moscow, 03Oct13]

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