How US Embassy Personnel Left Libya

Secretary of State John Kerry points to ongoing unrest as the reason for the evacuation.
5:04 | 07/26/14

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Transcript for How US Embassy Personnel Left Libya
Good afternoon updated -- ABC news headquarters in New York with a digital special report involving a developing story from overseas. Another hot spot has erupted today the United States has now evacuated its embassy in Libya. And is warning Americans to avoid the country here's the latest at this hour all American personnel from the embassy in Tripoli have been evacuated and are now safe. After traveling across the border into neighboring Tunisia in a highly orchestrated high stakes operation. The extraordinary move was caused by the growing violence from warring factions inside Libya especially this week's fierce battle for control of the Tripoli airport. This Saturday from -- secretary of state John Kerry explaining the evacuation. Because -- -- freewheeling. Militia. Violence is taking place. And -- and receive enough. -- nevertheless. Presents through -- The first. Secretary Kerry there in Paris ABC's -- Leland is in London and -- what more do we know about the operation -- -- -- Well David make no mistake this was not a small operation this was complicated this was organized and it involved assistance. From the united states military from what we know what happened early this morning possibly some time around sunrise there were a 150. People involved. In this evacuation 150 Americans of them about half were embassy staffers half with the US Marines. There were assigned to protect those embassy staffers in Tripoli that gives you an indication of just how dangerous the situation had gotten there. They were bundled into a convoy of armored suvs up above -- surveillance drone kept watch and monitored what was happening. There were also two F sixteen fighter jets that were in the area not directly overhead but close enough that you could intervene if they were called to. As the convoy made its get -- had to drive through the same dangerous streets. There were the reason why the convoy had to evacuate in the first place those streets now overtaken by rebel armed factions the -- the State Department warning. That some of those militias now have sophisticated military grade weapons including. Anti aircraft weapons and we know from this past week how dangerous it is when rebels and rival factions get a hold of anti aircraft weapons. The entire operation to get them evacuated did it took them along. Took them westward along the coast and -- Tunisia. There was an American warship that was nearby that was monitoring their every move and there was a detachment of two helicopters to American osprey aircraft. There were filled with United States Marines that were close by there were there to act as a quick reaction force should they be needed to be called in. If that convoy came under attack the entire -- in the entire thing -- Took five hours and everyone made it out safely just an enormous about a military support -- of course the attack on the US consulate. In another Libyans -- -- Gaza in which three Americans and ambassador Chris Stevens died is still causing. Political -- that your -- new congressional hearings some of course blaming the Obama administration and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in particular. For failing to keep consulate -- from the -- Well absolutely did and everyone remembers that attack on the anniversary of 9/11 it was two years ago in the city had been Ghazi. When American ambassador Chris Stephens and three other Americans were killed. Obviously. I at the time secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Was accused of not doing enough. To keep American -- safe clearly this time -- this evacuation that's happening in Tripoli. It's going to be very difficult for that accusation to -- -- because it's clear that the State Department. Is not taking any chances with this one of the questions David people -- -- is. Just how close were our American diplomats to the line of fire and how seriously. Or how heavily where their lives in danger -- we have an indication just how serious this was the American ambassador to Libya. Ambassador Deborah Jones recently tweeted saying that -- the action had gone very close to the embassy compound -- exact words were. Our neighborhood a bit quote too close to the action and later on she made an appeal -- seems like an appeal on Twitter saying. Diplomatic missions to be avoided please effectively telling the rivals to leave diplomatic missions alone so clearly they were very close to the action -- of course probably almost impossible to know but any indication as to how long they'll stay -- -- do they come back want to get safer. Well this is a very good question secretary of state John Kerry said today that the embassy is only temporarily closed. That they're committed to the diplomatic process in Libya and once it gets safe not. They will move back and you will reopen that embassy for now from what we understand embassy officials will be operating out of tunis. In Tunisia and they'll be there to help offer assistance as best as they can start on the -- and our London bureau thank you ABC news is monitoring these developments around the clock. To get updates on this story at any time start on the ABC news phone apps. -- have a full report tonight on world news I'm David Muir in New York until then. -- -- --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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