A small number of British nationals have been evacuated from Libya amid ongoing unrest in the country, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said.

It is understood that seven Britons left the capital, Tripoli, this morning on board a French naval vessel.

The French government is reported to have evacuated 40 French nationals from Libya, including the ambassador, and temporarily closed its embassy.

An FCO spokesman said: "A small group of British nationals left Tripoli this morning on board a French frigate.

"Our advice remains that British nationals should leave by commercial means still available. We are monitoring the situation and keeping our advice under constant review."

Since the overthrow in 2011 of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi by rebels supported by British and French air strikes, the north African country has descended into a state of lawlessness as rival militias struggle for power and wealth.

An FCO spokesman added: "The UK Government has changed its travel advice to reflect the ongoing security situation and increase in violence, especially in Tripoli and Benghazi. We are advising "against all travel to Libya".

"In light of travel restrictions in and around Tripoli, numbers of staff at the embassy have been reduced. A number of staff departed on Monday (28 July). However, the ambassador and a group of core staff remain in-country and the embassy remains open for core business, including support to the political process and consular assistance."