Heavy militia violence raging in the capital, Tripoli, the State Department said. About 150 personnel, including 80 U.S. Marines were evacuated from the embassy in the early hours of Saturday morning and were driven across the border into Tunisia,. U.S. officials stress that this is a relocation of embassy personnel and the operations have been "temporarily suspended" until "the security situation on the ground improves." The embassy will continue to operate from other locations. A senior State Department official said some of the staff from Libya will be sent to other U.S. embassies in the region and others will come back to Washington. CNN has learned the plan to evacuate the Americans was in the works for several days, but the decision to carry out the plan was made just in the last few days as the security situation around the embassy deteriorated. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the United States is grateful to Tunisia "for its cooperation and support." She said the personnel are "traveling onward" from Tunisia. "We are committed to supporting the Libyan people during this challenging time, and are currently exploring options for a permanent return to Tripoli as soon as the security situation on the ground improves. In the interim, staff will operate from Washington and other posts in the region," Harf said in a statement. "Securing our facilities and ensuring the safety of our personnel are top Department priorities, and we did not make this decision lightly. Security has to come first. Regrettably, we had to take this step because the location of our embassy is in very close proximity to intense fighting and ongoing violence between armed Libyan factions. Militia fighting in the area of the embassy and airport has degraded security in Tripoli significantly. The Libyan government was informed of the evacuation after it was carried out, according to U.S. officials.