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US pulls more embassy staff from Libya

The United States is temporarily withdrawing more staff from its embassy in Libya. The move comes just two weeks after the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi.

A State Department official said the reduction in staff would be temporary, noting that the security situation in Libya would be reviewed early next week in the hope of safely restoring U.S. personnel.

"This is a temporary drawdown of staff for security reasons," the official said.

The staff levels have been limited since the September 11 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi - deemed a terrorist attack by Washington - but officials have refused to give exact numbers of remaining personnel for security reasons.

Americans in Libya, meanwhile, have been warned by the U.S. Embassy that demonstrations may take place in the capital and in Benghazi on Friday.

"The demonstrations are a continuation of those that took place in Benghazi September 21-22, 2012," said a statement on the website of the US embassy in Tripoli.

The demonstrations last week were in support of democracy and against the Islamist militias, but Americans are still being urged to be cautious.

"Even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable. You should avoid them if at all possible," the statement said.

tm/av, ipj (AP, AFP, Reuters)