MOSCOW -- MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Thursday evacuated all of its diplomats and their families from Libya, the day after a mob attack on the Russian Embassy, and issued a warning to its citizens against visiting the country.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said none of the embassy staff was hurt in Wednesday's attack, which came in response to the death of a Libyan air force officer, who was allegedly killed by a Russian woman.
An armed mob broke into the embassy compound in the Libyan capital Tripoli, climbing over walls, breaking down a metal gate and shooting in the air. One of the attackers was killed by the gunfire, and four more were wounded, Libyan officials said.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in Thursday's statement that Moscow decided to evacuate the embassy after Libya's Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz visited its grounds and told the Russian ambassador that Libya was unable to protect the personnel.
Lukashevich added that all the embassy workers and their families safely crossed the border into Tunisia Thursday. He said that the Libyan authorities had promised to protect Russian assets and try to quickly restore conditions for the safe operations of the embassy.
Several senior diplomats will stay in Tunisia to maintain contacts with Libya, while the rest of the embassy workers will be flown to Moscow Friday, Lukashevich said.
He added that the Foreign Ministry recommends Russian citizens should refrain from visiting Libya.
Wednesday's violence briefly raised fears of a repeat of last year's deadly attack on a U.S. compound in the eastern city of Benghazi, in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed. In that instance, on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack, militants fired mortars at the diplomatic post, surrounded it and set it on fire.
A Libyan official said Wednesday's attackers took down the Russian flag that was hanging from the balcony of one of the buildings. But they did not enter the embassy buildings, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Earlier on HuffPost:
U.S. President Barack Obama
"The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. ... Make no mistake: We will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people. ... We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, but there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence, none." (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
British Prime Minister David Cameron
"This senseless attack ended the lives of people who had worked selflessly alongside Libyans during their darkest days. ... We look to the new Libyan authorities to do all in their power, as they have pledged to do, to bring the killers to justice. Britain stands ready to assist Libya and the United States in that task. Above all, we will honor the memory of these dedicated people by continuing their work to help Libyans build a secure and free country." (AP Photo/Ben Stansall, Pool)
"The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan strongly condemns this inhuman and insulting action (the film) and shows its strong hatred against this action. Insulting the messenger of Islam is to insult the values of 1.5 billion Muslims around the world. This insulting action will cause enmity and contrast between religions and cultures in the world and will be a strong punch to peace and harmony between humans."(AP Photo/Ahmad Massoud / Xinhua, Pool)
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry
"Such abominable actions, synchronized with commemoration of atrocious events like 9/11, provoke hatred, discord and enmity within societies and between peoples of various faiths. The event has deeply hurt the feelings of the people of Pakistan and the Muslims all over the world." (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)
The movie is an "immoral act that represents the highest levels of aggression against human rights that is represented by the respect of people's beliefs. ... The United Nations should issue laws that criminalize such acts similar to laws that criminalize anti-Semites." (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
"It is important that the new Libya continues to move toward a peaceful, secure and democratic future."(AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov, Pool)
Libyan interim President Mohammed el-Megarif
"We extend our apology to America, the American people and the whole world." (AP Photo)