New York: The United States administration has decided to withdraw more staff from its embassy in Tripoli, a move which comes two weeks after cutting personnel to emergency levels following an attack on its consulate.
"This is a further drawdown of staff for security reasons," a top State Department official was quoted as saying, amid reports that more demonstrations are planned in Tripoli and Benghazi today.
"We will review our posture again early next week, with the goal of restoring staff as soon as conditions allow," the official added.
Most American diplomatic staff had already been withdrawn from the embassy in Tripoli, after a September 11 militant attack on the US mission in the eastern city of Benghazi killed four Americans, including the ambassador, Chris Stevens.
All the staff from Benghazi has been sent home, and all non-emergency personnel were flown home from Tripoli the day after the attack, leaving just a skeleton crew behind.
However, the US officials refused to confirm how many American people remained in Tripoli.
It is understood though that the drawdown did not affect a detachment of 50 Marines dispatched to secure the main embassy in Tripoli after the attack.
A message to US citizens posted on the embassy site yesterday, warned of reports of new demonstrations planned Tripoli and Benghazi today starting around 5:00 pm local time.
"Please avoid the Al-Shajara area in downtown Benghazi, and Martyr`s Square in Tripoli," the message said.
With Agency Inputs