Washington: The US has dispatched two warships loaded with missiles and a Marine team to beef up the security at its missions in Libya after American ambassador was killed in a violent attack on its Consulate in Benghazi.
Senior Obama Administration officials said the 50-member Marine unit was being flown from their base in Europe. This is in addition to two US warships – USS Laboon and USS McFaul – which are now being moved to the coast of Libya.
The warships are equipped with Tomahawk missiles that could be used if the Obama Administration orders a strike against those responsible for the attack on US mission.
The crews of each warship equal approximately 300 people.
The decision comes after US envoy to Libya and three other Americans were killed in the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi by an armed mob Wednesday.
The move came hours after President Barack Obama said he has directed his administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of US personnel in Libya, and to increase security at diplomatic posts around the globe.
Pentagon spokesman George Little declined to comment on specific ship movements but said precautionary steps are being taken by the US military.
"The Fleet's Anti-terrorism Security Teams (FAST) that we deploy when requested are responsible for the protection of Embassy personnel and property, and they also play a role in the evacuation of personnel, as required," the senior administration official said on condition of anonymity.
"Whether or not US military personnel will be involved in future operations to track down the perpetrators of this attack, I'm simply not going to speculate on what may or may not be in the works in the future," the official said.
According to the official, the Department of Defense is working closely with the White House and State Department to provide all necessary resources to support the security of US personnel in Libya.