Westerners Warned to Leave Libya

  • FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, President Mohammed el-Megarif, center, visits the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, President Mohammed el-Megarif, center, visits the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

  • FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Libyan military guards check one of the U.S. Consulate's burnt out buildings during a visit by Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif, not shown, to the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. The Arabic on the building reads, "God is Great,  and there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger." (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Libyan military guards check one of the U.S. Consulate's burnt out buildings during a visit by Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif, not shown, to the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. The Arabic on the building reads, "God is Great, and there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger." (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

  • FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, bloodstains at the main gate believed to be from one of the American staff members of the U.S. Consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. Arabic writing reads, " Villa of Jamal al Beshary". which was written by the original owner to protect the property from another attack. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

    FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, bloodstains at the main gate believed to be from one of the American staff members of the U.S. Consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. Arabic writing reads, " Villa of Jamal al Beshary". which was written by the original owner to protect the property from another attack. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

  • FILE -  In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 file photo, a man looks at documents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. The graffiti reads, "no God but God,"  " God is great," and "Muhammad is the Prophet." (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 file photo, a man looks at documents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. The graffiti reads, "no God but God," " God is great," and "Muhammad is the Prophet." (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri, File)

  • FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, President Mohammed el-Megarif, center, visits the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)
  • FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Libyan military guards check one of the U.S. Consulate's burnt out buildings during a visit by Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif, not shown, to the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. The Arabic on the building reads, "God is Great,  and there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger." (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)
  • FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, bloodstains at the main gate believed to be from one of the American staff members of the U.S. Consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. Arabic writing reads, " Villa of Jamal al Beshary". which was written by the original owner to protect the property from another attack. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)
  • FILE -  In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 file photo, a man looks at documents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. The graffiti reads, "no God but God,"  " God is great," and "Muhammad is the Prophet." (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri, File)

London — Britain, Germany and the Netherlands urged their citizens yesterday to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to what was described as an imminent threat against Westerners.

The warnings come a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified to Congress about the deadly September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya. They also come as French troops battle al-Qaida linked militants in Mali, and follow the deaths of dozens of foreigners at the hands of Islamist extremists in Algeria — though it remained unclear if those two events were linked to the European nations’ concerns about Libya.

The foreign ministries of the three countries issued statements variously describing the threat as specific and imminent but none gave details as to its exact nature. Germany and Britain urged their nationals still in Benghazi to leave “immediately” while Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Thijs van Son said that “staying in this area is not to be advised.”

It was not immediately clear how many people could be affected; Britain’s Foreign Office said likely “dozens” of its citizens were in the city, while Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Thijs van Son said there are four Dutch citizens registered as being in Benghazi and possibly two more.

Several countries have for months advised against all travel to the city, especially after the U.S. consulate was attacked, and local residents said that many foreigners had already left in recent weeks.

Benghazi, a city of 1 million people, is a business hub where many major firms employ Westerners. It also was where the Libyan uprising against longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi began in 2011. Gadhafi was eventually toppled and killed after NATO backed the rebel movement, and the Arab country has since struggled with security. Al-Qaida-linked militants operate in the country alongside other Islamist groups.

Adel Mansouri, principal of the International School of Benghazi, said British and foreign nationals were warned two days ago about a possible threat to Westerners.