The Last Plane out; Final Flight Carries Last Brits in Libya to Safety as Gaddafi Arms Militia for Civil War
Byline: BEN SPENCER
THE final rescue flight for Brits fleeing Libya left Tripoli last night as the country hurtled closer to civil war.
The plane took 53 British nationals out of the stricken city at 6pm. It was part of a massive evacuation from the country by land, sea and air.
They scrambled to get out as embattled Colonel Gaddafi threw open his arsenal of weapons to civilian militia.
The operations of the British Embassy in Tripoli were suspended and its staff evacuated on the last Governmentchartered flight from the capital. Meanwhile, two RAF Hercules planes evacuated more than 150 civilians from desert locations south of Benghazi to Malta.
Earlier in the day, hundreds had escaped Libya by boat including almost 70 Brits on board HMS Cumberland.
Their desperate bid to escape came as Gaddafi announced plans to arm his civilian supporters in a move that could push Libya into civil war.
And last night, there were reports of further carnage in Sabratha, 40 miles west of Tripoli. It was claimed dozens were "severely wounded" after a pro-Gaddafi battalion opened fire.
The UN Security Council was meeting last night to discuss action against Gaddafi with a draft resolution calling for an arms embargo, travel ban and moves to freeze a multi-billion pound fortune.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama said the Libyan leader should step down and leave the country "now".
The White House said: "The president stated that when a leader's only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now".
The last government rescue flight for Brits arrived in Tripoli yesterday afternoon. The 737 had 148 seats and there were believed to be around 50 UK nationals in the city.
Foreign Secretary William Hague and Scottish government external affairs minister Fiona Hyslop had earlier urged all Britons go to Tripoli airport.
However, efforts were continuing last night to rescue an estimated 300 British oil workers in remote locations in the country. SAS troops are understood to be ready to move in to evacuate the workers if needed.
Hyslop said oil companies had been working with the Scottish government to bring as many home as possible.
She added: "We are continuing to work with the FCO to ensure those individuals still to leave Libya are able to do so as swiftly and as safely as possible."
Scots who were among more than 207 people transported from Libyan port city Benghazi to Malta by HMS Cumberland praised the Royal Navy rescue.
The frigate arrived in Malta in the early hours of yesterday and Brits onboard were due to be flown back to the UK as soon as possible. …