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Greece evacuates embassy staff, foreign nationals from Libya

In this handout photo provided by the Hellenic Navy, a navy special operations team inspects waters as a plume of smoke is seen over Libya's capital Tripoli on Thursday. A Greek frigate was was used to evacuate Greek embassy staff and others from Tripoli.

Greece safely evacuated embassy staff and more than one hundred Chinese and European nationals from Libya early on Friday with a navy frigate sailing back to the Greek port of Piraeus, its Defense Ministry said.

Athens had sent a frigate and two other vessels to Libya to evacuate workers at its embassy in Tripoli on Thursday.

The past two weeks of fighting between rival militias in Libya have been the worst since the civil war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, prompting Western governments to follow the United States and the United Nations in pulling their diplomats out of the North African country.

Frigate Salamis with 77 Greeks, including embassy staff, 78 Chinese, 12 Cypriot, 10 British and seven Belgian nationals on board, was expected to reach Piraeus port early on Saturday, the Defence Ministry said.

Greek passenger ships evacuated more than 10,000 foreigners, mainly Chinese workers, from Libya when fighting flared in 2011. [Reuters]

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