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US embassy in Lebanon evacuating non-essential staff
By AFP - Sep 06,2013 - Last updated at Sep 06,2013
BEIRUT - The US embassy in Beirut said Friday its non-essential staff and family members are being evacuated from Lebanon because of "threats to US mission facilities and personnel."
"On September 6 2013, the Department of State drew down non-emergency personnel and family members from Embassy Beirut due to threats to US mission facilities and personnel," a statement on the embassy website said.
There were no details on any specific threats to the embassy or information on how many people were affected by the decision.
The move comes as US President Barack Obama presses Congress to authorise military strikes against neighbouring Syria in response to an alleged August 21 chemical weapons attack Washington has blamed on the regime.
The potential strikes have raised the prospect of regional repercussions, including by Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement, which is allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The US State Department has already warned US citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon and recommended those in the country make plans to leave.
The conflict in Syria has increasingly spilled over into Lebanon, which is also hosting more than 700,000 refugees who have fled the violence.
The US embassy in Yemen said on Tuesday it had been ordered by the State Department to evacuate non-essential personnel following attacks in the impoverished Arab Peninsula state claimed by Al Qaeda.
The UN was pulling non-essential staff from Darfur on Tuesday as Islamist protesters rallied behind Sudanese President Omar Bashir over allegations he masterminded a campaign of genocide in the region.
The United States and its allies evacuated diplomats from Yemen on Tuesday and stepped up security at missions across the Middle East amid fears of an imminent Al Qaeda attack.
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