Hundreds of Chinese evacuated from Libya: Xinhua

BEIJING - More than 400 Chinese nationals were evacuated from Libya on Saturday, state media said, after hundreds of their compatriots fled the country as the violence there escalated.

Libya is descending into a civil war spiral that is "much worse" than the unrest that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, residents fleeing the country told AFP.

Vehicles carrying 411 Chinese workers evacuated from Libya's capital Tripoli crossed the border into Tunisia early Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

A further 97 Chinese workers were expected to arrive at the border crossing later Saturday, it cited Chinese diplomats as saying.

The Chinese embassy organised the evacuation of more than 700 Chinese nationals out of the Libya late last week, Xinhua added.

An AFP photographer on Saturday saw Chinese nationals evacuated from Libya arriving aboard the Greek navy frigate Salamis at the port of Piraeus in Athens.

China issued warnings to its nationals in Libya last Monday, urging them to leave the country "as soon as possible," citing the deteriorating security situation.

Libya has suffered chronic insecurity since the overthrow of Gaddafi, with the new government unable to check militias that helped to remove him and facing a growing threat from Islamist groups.

Fighting between rival militias in Tripoli has forced the closure of the city's international airport, while Islamist groups are battling army special forces in the eastern city of Benghazi.

In the past week, many countries have ordered their citizens to leave and, in some cases, have evacuated them.