The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Libya due to the ongoing fighting, threat of terrorist attacks and kidnap against foreigners (including from ISIL-affiliated extremists), and a dangerous security situation throughout the country.
British nationals still in Libya are strongly urged to leave immediately by commercial means. The British Embassy in Tripoli has temporarily closed, and is unable to provide consular assistance.
There is a high threat from terrorism. There have been a number of attacks and threats against westerners, western interests and symbolic targets throughout Libya. ISIL-affiliated groups have stated an intention to target foreigners. There is clear evidence that groups within Libya have both the intent and capability to carry out kidnappings and are specifically targeting foreign nationals:
- a number of foreign nationals are held hostage in Libya
- two British nationals have been kidnapped by armed groups in Libya since 2014
- in April 2015, 2 groups of Ethiopian Christians were murdered by ISIL in Libya in 2 locations.
- in March 2015, terrorists killed 8 oil workers and kidnapped 9 foreign nationals at Al Ghani oilfield, 470 miles south east of Tripoli.
- in February 2015, 10 oil workers were killed and 3 foreign nationals were kidnapped in an attack on Mabruk oilfield
- in February 2015, 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians were murdered by ISIL-affiliated terrorists
- in January 2015, 9 people, including 5 foreign nationals, were killed in a terrorist attack on an international hotel in Tripoli
Car bomb attacks in public areas in Tripoli, Tobruk, Darnah and Benghazi have caused serious casualties. Further attacks are likely and could be opportunistic. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners. These could target foreign and diplomatic personnel and premises, international hotels, government and other official security institutions.
There is a very high threat of kidnapping throughout Libya from armed tribes, criminals and terrorists, including those who have affiliated with ISIL. In February 2015, extremists claiming affiliation with ISIL murdered a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians who had been kidnapped in Sirte in December. Egypt subsequently launched air strikes against Darnah.
Further terrorist and kidnap attacks are highly likely. See Terrorism.
There’s widespread fighting throughout Libya. Heavy fighting continues in residential areas of Benghazi city and there have been ongoing sporadic clashes in the southern cities of Awbari, Sebha and Kufrah. Civilians have been killed in residential areas. The conflict against ISIL in Sirte has escalated since 10 August, involving air strikes, artillery and mortar shelling. In Darnah, conflict has grown between ISIL and local armed resistance and other armed forces. There is a high risk of being caught in indiscriminate gunfire or shelling, including air strikes, in all areas where the fighting has spread.
Ports and airports, and oil and gas installations have also been targeted. On 10 May, 1 crewman was killed and several injured after a cargo vessel was attacked off the Libyan coast by Libyan Air Force jets. In January, 2 crewmen were killed in an air attack on a Greek-operated oil tanker anchored off Libya’s coast.
Since December 2013, a number of foreign nationals have been shot dead in Libya. Further attacks against foreigners are likely and could be opportunistic. Fighting can break out anywhere without warning, quickly putting those in the area at risk.
Fighting has caused the temporary suspension or closure of airports, closed roads and led to the closure of some border crossings. All airports are vulnerable to attack. Tripoli International Airport has been closed since 13 July 2014. Limited commercial departure options are sometimes available, but you should check with your airline.
If you choose to travel to Libya against FCO advice, you should consider your security arrangements carefully and take all necessary security precautions, including contingency plans. If you’re entering Libya as a media representative, you should get press accreditation from the relevant Libyan authorities.
You must get permission before taking any photographs or interviewing at or near military facilities. If you choose to travel to Libya against FCO advice, you should get the right visa, or risk deportation. See Entry Requirements
If you choose to travel to Libya against FCO advice, you should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.