F-16s Covered US Embassy Evacuation from Tripoli

? F-16s flying from Aviano AB, Italy, provided protective watch from above as the US military assisted in evacuating personnel, including the Marine Corps security guards, from the US embassy in Tripoli, Libya, according to a Pentagon release. The State Department decided to temporarily relocate embassy staff on July 26 after clashes broke out between Libyan militias in the vicinity of the embassy. Ground vehicles brought the embassy personnel from Tripoli west to neighboring Tunisia, with the F-16s flying armed overwatch, along with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft and Marine Corps MV-22s carrying an airborne response force, states the release. The operation took just five hours and unfolded without incident, said Pentagon officials. The State Department said it was exploring options for a return to Tripoli as soon as the security situation improves.