US to try to evacuate citizens from Libya to Malta

February 23, 2011 10:59

WASHINGTON — The US will try again Wednesday to evacuate American citizens from Libya, this time by ferry, as concerns rise about longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi's unpredictable behavior.

As security forces unleashed a bloody crackdown on protesters demanding Gaddafi's ouster, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the violence "completely unacceptable."

But as it sought to safely extricate US diplomats and other Americans from the spreading chaos, the Obama administration stopped short of criticizing Gaddafi personally or demanding that he step down. US officials who spoke to the matter publicly on Tuesday, including Clinton, would not mention Gaddafi by name.

Unease over the safety of US citizens intensified after attempts to get some out on Monday and Tuesday were unsuccessful. Late Tuesday, the State Department announced that American citizens would be evacuated from Libya by ferry to the Mediterranean island of Malta.

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