The Libyan authorities have warned journalists who had entered the country “illegally” that it would not be responsible for their security.
Libya “assumes no responsibility, legal or moral, for the danger that could threaten the personal security of journalists who have broken the rules” of entry into the country, a statement distributed in Tripoli said.
The statement came from the general committee for the foreign press, which reports to the interior ministry.
It referred to the “exceptional situation” prevailing in Libya, incited by “the phenomenon of the illegal carrying of arms by elements of al-Qaeda, other terrorist elements and criminals”.
The warning was addressed to journalists as forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi pressed their offensive against the last key rebel-held town of Ajdabiya in the east of the country before Benghazi, the insurgent stronghold.
Dozens of representatives of international media organisations entered Libya from Egypt to cover the unfolding revolt after the east fell into rebel hands last month.
Last month, Mr Gaddafi’s deputy foreign minister warned that journalists who entered Libya illegally would be considered “as if they are collaborating with al-Qaeda and as outlaws and we are not responsible for their security”.
Tripoli frequently accuses the rebels of being linked to Osama bin Laden’s terror network. Agencies