Britain’s Foreign Office has urged its nationals to leave Benghazi, Libya, in response to a specific imminent threat to Westerners Thursday. They could not comment further on the nature of the threat.
The British Embassy in Tripoli has attempted to contact citizens, whose information they had on record, the statement continued.
However, the high level of the threat was connected with the French military operation in Mali and followed the deaths of 37 foreigners of eight nationalities who were taken hostage by Islamist extremists in In Amenas, Algeria, according to Britain's Foreign Office.
A spokeswoman for the British Embassy in Tripoli told the media that the number of British nationals in Benghazi was small, but she could not comment on specific numbers as she also believed that few Western nationals are in Benghazi.
Meanwhile, Germany, Netherlands and Australia urged their citizens in Benghazi to leave the area.
The Dutch government said in a statement that the federal government has information about an immediate, concrete threat to Western citizens in Benghazi. They have called on all German citizens to leave the city and the region of Benghazi immediately.
On the other hand, a representative from Libya’s Ministry of the Interior has said talk of an alleged imminent terrorism threat in Benghazi is baseless.
Giuma Attaigha, deputy leader of the ruling general national congress, said Libya must make foreigners feel safe. Commenting on the call of some Western governments to their nationals to leave Benghazi, Attaigha said this statement is a cause of concern and we hope it is just precautionary because it is the right of any country to take care of its people when it feels that they are in danger.
I think it's the right of any country in the world to protect its citizens, but it is the right of every citizen in any country in the world to ask his government not to endanger his life.
Any risk felt by Western citizens is because of France and its unjustified war on Mali, which France claims that its goal, out of this war, is to eliminate the Islamist extremists. Nevertheless, the real goal is that France, which has economic projects in Mali, started to feel that its projects are threatened due to the Islamist presence. For this, France carried a war on Mali, when certainly all the world knows its cause and its actual targets.
I do not think that Islamists, specifically al-Qaida, have ever targeted France in the past, but after its aggression against Mali, for sure there will be a backlash from the Islamist groups. Therefore, the countries which help France in its war on Mali must be ready for the Islamist reaction, which no one can predict.
I think, as many people do, that France and its allies will lose in their war on Mali. France should carry its troops back home, as it has lost enough already, before its loss increases with its economy deteriorating to an irreparable stage.