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Four US troops in Libya to help reopen embassy: US
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Sept 12, 2011

The US military has sent a small four-man team to Libya to help diplomats with plans to reopen an American embassy after Moamer Kadhafi's regime lost control of the capital, the Pentagon said Monday.

But officials said the move does not represent a shift in US policy by President Barack Obama, who has insisted throughout a NATO air campaign there will be no US boots on the ground in Libya.

"This does not signal any kind of change in the military mission that we've been assigned," Captain John Kirby told reporters.

The four US military personnel arrived over the weekend and "are assisting the State Department assessment team in Tripoli, as they consider how and where and when to reopen, to reestablish the embassy there," Kirby said.

As the shuttered US embassy in Triploi had been "pretty well trashed," the team will examine whether "that facility is still usable, and if it is, what needs to be done to bring it back online," he said.

Two members of the military team are explosive experts as officials remain concerned about possible munitions in the embassy.

Since April 1, the US military has carried out more than 6,000 sorties in the NATO-led air campaign, including tanker refueling flights and 119 missions with Predator drone aircraft, according to the Pentagon.

US officials said opposition forces were making progress even as Kadhafi loyalists launched ferocious counterattacks on Monday near Sirte and at Bani Walid near Tripoli.

NATO warned there would be no let-up in its bombing campaign against Kadhafi's remaining strongholds.

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