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Dutch, Britons, Germans warned to leave Benghazi

  • FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Libyan military guards check one of the U.S. Consulate's burnt out buildings during a visit by Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif, not shown, to the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. The Arabic on the building reads, "God is Great,  and there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger." (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Libyan military guards check one of the U.S. Consulate's burnt out buildings during a visit by Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif, not shown, to the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. The Arabic on the building reads, "God is Great, and there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger." (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

  • FILE -  In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 file photo, a man looks at documents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. The graffiti reads, "no God but God,"  " God is great," and "Muhammad is the Prophet." (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 file photo, a man looks at documents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. The graffiti reads, "no God but God," " God is great," and "Muhammad is the Prophet." (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri, File)

  • FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, President Mohammed el-Megarif, center, visits the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, President Mohammed el-Megarif, center, visits the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

  • FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, bloodstains at the main gate believed to be from one of the American staff members of the U.S. Consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. Arabic writing reads, " Villa of Jamal al Beshary". which was written by the original owner to protect the property from another attack. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

    FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, bloodstains at the main gate believed to be from one of the American staff members of the U.S. Consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. Arabic writing reads, " Villa of Jamal al Beshary". which was written by the original owner to protect the property from another attack. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

  • FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Libyan military guards check one of the U.S. Consulate's burnt out buildings during a visit by Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif, not shown, to the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. The Arabic on the building reads, "God is Great,  and there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger." (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)
  • FILE -  In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 file photo, a man looks at documents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. The graffiti reads, "no God but God,"  " God is great," and "Muhammad is the Prophet." (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri, File)
  • FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, President Mohammed el-Megarif, center, visits the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)
  • FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, bloodstains at the main gate believed to be from one of the American staff members of the U.S. Consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. Britain's Foreign Office urged U.K. nationals to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to an imminent threat against Westerners. Arabic writing reads, " Villa of Jamal al Beshary". which was written by the original owner to protect the property from another attack. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

Britain, Germany, Canada and the Netherlands urged their citizens to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi yesterday, warning of an imminent threat against Westerners days after a deadly hostage crisis in neighboring Algeria.

European officials told the Associated Press that schools were among the potential targets.

The warnings came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified to Congress about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. They also came as French troops battled al-Qaida-linked militants in the West African nation of Mali, and followed the deaths of at least 37 foreign hostages seized by Islamist extremists in Algeria.

It was unclear whether those two events were linked to the latest concerns about Libya.

The foreign ministries of the three European countries issued statements describing the threat as specific and imminent but none would elaborate.

The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya’s capital far to the west of Benghazi, said there was “no specific information pointing to specific, imminent threats against U.S. citizens.”

With a population of 1 million, Benghazi is Libya’s second-largest city and where the Libyan uprising against longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi began in February 2011. Gadhafi was eventually toppled and killed after NATO backed the rebel movement, and the Arab country has since struggled with increasing insecurity.

Al-Qaida-linked militants operate in Libya alongside other Islamist groups, and the country is awash in weapons looted from Gadhafi’s many military depots.

Schools, businesses and offices of nongovernmental organizations were among the possible targets, according to two European officials familiar with the threats.

It was not immediately clear how many people were affected by the European warnings.

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