Libya 'releases' four US military personnel

File photo of Libyan soldiers Security forces reportedly arrested the US military personnel at a checkpoint

Libyan authorities have freed four US military personnel briefly detained on Friday, US officials have said.

The US citizens were reportedly arrested near the city of Sabratha, west of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Images purporting to show two of the Americans' passports and embassy ID cards were posted on social media.

The head of Sabratha's military council said the US military staff were travelling in two SUVs when they were stopped at a checkpoint.

The State Department announced on Friday evening that the four had been detained while reviewing evacuation routes for embassy staff.

But little more than an hour later unnamed US officials said they had been released. The reasons for their detention remain unclear.

The Americans were allegedly armed and carried communications equipment.

One of their cars was said to have been set on fire afterwards.

US diplomats have operated in the country under very tight security since last year's attack on the US consulate in the city of Benghazi, in which US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

The security situation in and around Benghazi has been worsening in recent months, with militants blamed for almost daily attacks.

Last week, seven people were killed at a security checkpoint near Benghazi in the first known suicide bomb attack in Libya since the fall of Col Gaddafi two years ago.

More on This Story

Libya after Gaddafi

More Africa stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back


  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?


  • A cow wearing sunglasses overlaid with the phrase 'Can't touch this'Cow row

    Thousands rally against the ban on beef in India


  • Dana Lone HillDana Lone Hill

    The Native American names that break Facebook rules


Elsewhere on the BBC

Programmes

  • Former al-Qaeda double agent Aimen DeanHARDtalk Watch

    Islamic State is about revenge says former al-Qaeda member turned spy Aimen Dean

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.