U.S. military personnel freed after brief detention in Libya

Four American military personnel were briefly detained in western Libya on Friday after part of their convoy failed to stop at a checkpoint and was found to be carrying weapons, Libyan officials said.

The Americans were released several hours later and brought to the capital Tripoli, U.S. and Libyan officials said on Saturday.

A U.S. defense official said the four Americans appeared to have been checking potential evacuation routes for diplomats at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli.

U.S. and other Western embassies have beefed up security at their missions in Libya, which is still in turmoil two and a half years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

The military personnel were near Sabratha, a town located 70 km (45 miles) west of Tripoli, “as part of security preparedness efforts when they were taken into custody,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

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