- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The U.S. military has doubled down on the number of planes it has standing by in Italy in case of an evacuation call for Americans from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, various media reported Tuesday.

The looming decision to evacuate is growing “minute by minute, hour by hour,” one defense official told CNN, referring to the escalating violence in the capital city that began on Sunday. Then, armed gunmen stormed the Parliament and began firing off shots — and on Monday, the shooting was still taking place.

It’s nearly as violent in the city as it was during the 2011 ousting of Mohammar Ghadafi, some analysts said. Late Monday, the speaker of the interim government ordered heavily armed Islamist forces to deploy to the capital city.

The Saudi government, in the meantime, ordered its country’s embassy and consulate in Tripoli closed. Turkey, too, has shut down its consulate in Benghazi.

The U.S. has sent in four additional V-22 Osprey, and military officials are said to be standing by, awaiting word on whether the crafts will be needed to evacuate Americans from the city, CNN reported.