The US Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), carrying 1,000 marines, has sailed into the Mediterranean Sea and could be used for evacuation of American personnel from Libya, writes the Associated Press.
The warship will remain in the region as a precautionary measure, but without approaching the country’s coast, so as to be able to react quickly in case of need, US defence officials said.
The decision to move the ship comes in the aftermath of a recommendation from the U.S. State Department to all Americans to leave Libya immediately for security reasons.
“Because of the presumption that foreigners, especially U.S. citizens, in Libya may be associated with the U.S. government or U.S. NGO’s, travelers should be aware that they may be targeted for kidnapping, violent attacks, or death. U.S. citizens currently in Libya should exercise extreme caution and depart immediately,” the State Department said.
Earlier this month, renegade Libyan general Khalifa Hifter launched a military offensive in the east of Libya targeting Islamist extremists. The offensive saw an attack on the country’s parliament in the capital pushing the country into anarchy.
Naval Today Staff, May 28, 2014; Image: Wikimedia