Libyan embassy (Photo by Mai Shaheen)
Travel agencies in Alexandria have seen strong demand from Libyans eager to return home after the apparent fall of Tripoli to the country's rebels, the daily Ahram is reporting.
The state-owned newspaper claims Libyans, who have been based in Egypt's second city after fleeing the conflict, are scrambling to book bus tickets and arrange cars to take them back west.
On Tuesday, the desert border crossing of Salloum saw an increase in the number of travellers -- both Libyan and Egyptian -- heading into rebel territory, according to border officials quoted by Ahram.
Officials claimed 1,551 people travelled into Libya: 920 Libyans, 675 Egyptians and 74 of other nationalities.
Egypt has historically been a key source of labour for Libya, with an estimated 1 million working there when the uprising began and prompted many to flee.
This week Pasquale Lupoli, regional director for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Middle East, told Ahram Online that workers were now beginning to trickle back.
Between 40,000 to 50,000 Egyptians have recently returned to western Libya, he said, adding that Libyan recruiters were already active in Cairo looking for new labour.
The daily Ahram also reported that rental values for apartments in Alexandria are also falling as displaced Libyans finish their contracts, with this drop mirrored in the prices of other commodities.