U.S. Embassy closed in Tripoli -- Americans scramble to leave 

The Administration has closed the American Embassy in Libya and has chartered a flight from Tripoli to Istanbulas with all US Embassy officials as violence escalates Friday,  according to US State Department.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that "a U.S. charter aircraft departed Libya at 1:49 p.m. eastern with additional American and international citizens on board, bound for Istanbul."

There are approximately 6,000 U.S. citizens in Libya but "not all US citizens register at the embassy while traveling so there may be more," an official told The Washington Examiner.

The first ferry is taking approximately 300 people to Malta. There are also plans for chartered flights out of Tripoli.

Although the Eastern portion of the country is mainly in control of opposition forces, the situation is becoming increasingly unstable in Tripoli and outlaying townships. According to a North African official, with knowledge of the ongoing violence in Libya, more than 1000 people have been killed in clashes between Moammar Gadhafi's security forces and opposition.

 "This is an unbelievable tragedy and mass murder," the official said. "There are no other words to describe it."

The Obama administration is taking steps to ensure that Gadhafi isn't going leave office with assets that belong to the Libyan people. The US Treasury Department is monitoring accounts and asked bank officials to report financial transactions "that could potentially represent misappropriated or diverted state assets, proceeds of bribery or other illegal payments, or other public corruption proceeds," according to a government statement posted on its web site.

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Sara A. Carter

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