The staff of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut was evacuated, apparently fearing possible terrorist attacks, officials said Saturday.

The 30-member staff, including Ambassador Ryan Crocker, was evacuated by U.S. military helicopters late Friday, according to the Lebanese daily newspaper Ad-Diyar and the U.S. State Department. The staff was flown from the compound in the northeastern suburb of Awkar to the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea.The decision to evacuate the embassy was made as the Islamic Jihad extremist group said Western hostages being held in Lebanon may be hurt or executed as a result of the U.S.-led operation against Iraq, Ad-Diyar reported.

It was the second time in two years the embassy was evacuated because of threats of terrorism.