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British Embassy in Libya ransacked for its art

There were irreplaceable art works that were either destroyed or stolen when the mob ransacked the British Embassy in Libya. Worth more than £130,000 the paintings were taken when Gaddafi supporters torched and vandalized the building a World War II memorial on May1. The raid revenged the apparent killing of his son and three grandchildren by a NATO missile attack.

The news comes as NATO has resumed its bombing campaign rumors surfaced from Tripoli that Gaddafi’s support was dwindling each day in the capital. Among the looted works was an 18th century oil painting called Harrier Killing, a Bittern estimated to be £60,000 by Philip Reinagle. A landscape styled like Italian painter Salvatore Rosa was worth £35,000 and one entitled Mountainous Landscape with Travellers is also missing.

The total cost of the attack will be much higher than just the paintings but cannot be determined until British authorities have returned to Tripoli. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office would neither confirm nor deny if intelligence material was in the embassy during the raid. William Hague Foreign Secretary expelled Omar Jelban the Libyan ambassador in London after the attack on the building in Tripoli which had stood empty for weeks.

An increased sense of complete chaos could be felt in Tripoli as petrol prices escalated and food shortages were being predicted and is said to be the force behind people not being worried about talking out. One businessman said that 95% of the people want Gaddafi to leave not just because of his politics but because many just want to return to normal lives.

A shop owner said that most want him gone and more are willing to talk about it now since he is under pressure and they do not feel threatened. But you still must remain guarded because if you are caught who knows what they would do to you.


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