255 Egyptians fleeing Libya land in Cairo

Ahram Online , Wednesday 25 Feb 2015

This is the third plane to land in Egypt since the country launched airstrikes on Islamic State group (IS) targets in Libya's Derna

Feb. 18, 2015 file photo, Egyptians wait to leave a detention center for illegal immigrants east of the city of Misrata, Libya during their deportation back to Egypt. (Photo: AP)

An EgyptAir plane carrying 255 Egyptians fleeing Libya has landed in Egypt, the third plane since Egypt launched airstrikes on Islamic State group (IS) targets in Libya's Derna on 16 February.

The Egyptians fled Libya to the Libyan-Tunisian border before being transported to Tunisia’s Djerba Airport to fly back home.

Around 12,000 to 13,000 have also fled to Egypt since the strikes through the Salloum border crossing, on the Libyan-Egyptian border.

Egypt has drawn up evacuation plans for its citizens in Libya who wish to leave the war-torn country since a video surfaced online last week of Islamic State (IS) group militants beheading 20 Coptic Egyptians, thought to be on a Tripoli beach.

Following the release of the video, Egypt launched airstrikes on IS militant hideouts in Libya’s Derna, in collaboration with Libya’s government.

In recent statements, Egyptian minister of manpower Nahed Al-Ashry said no official number exists of Egyptian workers in Libya because large numbers travel illegally to the oil-rich North African country. However, she estimated the number stands between 800,000 and 900,000.

Since the 2011 toppling of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, rival militias have been fighting a weak central government across the country.

Instability in Libya earlier prompted many Egyptian workers to return to Egypt, though many others  have remained.


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