Four American military personnel were detained by the Libyan government and are being held in custody, the State Department confirmed Friday night.
The New York Times reported that the personnel, who are assigned to the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, were apparently detained in a tourist area about a hour west of the capital. The area is considered friendly to Westerners,
The Times continues,
"According to initial reports received by officials in Washington, the four were believed to have been reviewing potential evacuation routes for diplomats when they were detained. The circumstances of how they were taken and why were not clear."State Department Jen Psaki said in a statement, "We are seeking to further ascertain the facts and ensure their release." The personnel are being held by the Interior Ministry.
An article in the Tripoli Post states that the four were traveling in two SUVs and were stopped at a checkpoint in the city of Al-Ajailat. The article points out that the four were armed and carried communications equipment.