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More than 300 Egyptians arrive in Cairo, fleeing Libya

The latest plane carrying Egyptians fleeing Libya is the third to leave Tunisia’s Djerba Airport

Ahram Online, Sunday 3 Aug 2014
Libya - Tunis
Tunisian guards confront a group of Egyptians at the border crossing of Ras Jdir, southeast of Tunis, August 1, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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A plane transporting 261 Egyptians fleeing Libya arrived in Cairo early Sunday, MENA state news agency reported.

Egypt is currently facilitating the departure of Egyptians as security conditions in the country continue to deteriorate.

The plane was the third carrying Egyptians to leave Tunisia’s Djerba Airport. The first planeload of Egyptians from Libya arrived in Cairo late Thursday with 319 passengers. The second aircraft transported 320 Egyptian passengers Friday.

Further planes have also been sent to Djerba to transport Egyptian workers who have fled Libya.

On Friday, Tunisian guards shot into the air and fired tear gas to stop a group of Egyptians from storming across the border with Libya after fleeing violence in Tripoli, a Reuters reporter said.

The Egyptians were fed up with the long wait at Ras Jdir Border Crossing and then tried to force their way over. There was no immediate comment on any injuries from Tunisian or Libyan officials.

Tensions have been high on the Tunisian-Libyan border after two Egyptians were killed Thursday when Libyan guards opened fire to disperse them as they tried to leave.

Tunisian authorities have said many of the Egyptians do not have visas or required documents, according to the TAP state news agency. Around 350 Egyptians were allowed to cross into Tunisia Wednesday, TAP said.

The International Organisation for Migration estimates that 330,000 to 1.5 million Egyptians worked in Libya up until the ongoing unrest that began following the NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The number of Egyptian expats has dwindled since, although it is not clear how many Egyptians remain in the country.

Libya has been embroiled in turmoil since the ouster of longtime autocrat Gaddafi opened the way to the increasing power of militias. An ongoing fight between rival militias lasting more than two weeks over control of the capital’s international airport has killed dozens and injured hundreds.

At least 110 have been killed in the capital since the latest bout of violence began two weeks ago, leading to the cancellation of most international flights.

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