BENGHAZI - The Libyan Islamist militia Ansar al-Sharia said on Saturday it had evacuated its bases in Benghazi in the interest of security.

"The commander of the battalion gave orders to members to evacuate their premises and hand them over to the people of Benghazi," said spokesman Yousef al-Jehani. "We respect the views of the people of Benghazi, and to preserve security in the city we evacuated the premises."

The group, which has denied suggestions that it was responsible for an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in which the US ambassador and three other Americans were killed, had been the target of a mass protest in the city on Friday night.

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