American Flag Raised Over U.S. Embassy in Tripoli

The American embassy in Tripoli officially reopened today, nearly seven months after it was shuttered as fighting intensified in Libya and just hours before the Obama administration slapped sanctions on the Gadhafi regime.

U.S. Ambassador Gene Cretz returned to Libya Wednesday for the first time since he left the country in January after a spat with the Libyan government when Wikileaks released some of his cables critical of the Gadhafi government.

The U.S. embassy is working out of a temporary location after its compound was ransacked and burned by a pro-Gadhafi mob in May. Video from inside the compound showed debris littering the charred hallways of some embassy buildings.

American diplomats had been operating out of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi for several months before the capital fell under control of the rebels. The first U.S. diplomats returned to the Libyan capital earlier this month along with a team of experts and military advisers who are working to assess whether the embassy compound can be salvaged.

The United States never severed diplomatic relations with Libya when the embassy was closed in February, but did kick out any Libyan diplomats still loyal to Gadhafi.

Longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has fled the capital but has yet to be found.