Libyans burn British and Italian embassies after NATO strike

Supporters of Gaddafi torched the British embassy in Tripoli.

From the AP:  Angry mobs attacked Western embassies and U.N. offices in Tripoli Sunday after NATO bombed Moammar Gadhafi’s family compound in an attack officials said killed the leader’s second-youngest son and three grandchildren. Russia accused the Western alliance of exceeding its U.N. mandate of protecting Libyan civilians with the strike.

The vandalized embassies were empty and nobody was reported injured, but the attacks heightened tensions between the Libyan regime and Western powers, prompting the United Nations to pull its international staff out of the capital. . . .

After news of the air strike spread in Tripoli, an angry mob burned down the British embassy buildings, including the ambassador’s residence, the British Foreign Office said. Britain has taken a leading role in supporting the rebels.

Only burned shells remained, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said, adding that the buildings had been "ransacked, vandalised and completely destroyed. . . ."

Britain responded by ordering the expulsion of the Libyan ambassador, saying he must leave by Monday.

The Italian embassy in Tripoli was also burned, the Italian Foreign Ministry said, accusing the Gadhafi regime of failing to take measures to protect foreign missions. Italy withdrew its diplomats weeks ago and promised the attack on the embassy "will not weaken" its determination to continue with its partners in that mission.  (photo: BBC)

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