Egyptians flee violence in Libya through Tunisia, Sallum
Egyptians cross from Libya to Egypt through Sallum border crossing - REUTERS

CAIRO: Six thousand Egyptians fleeing from violence in Libya entered Egypt through the Egyptian Sallum border crossing with Libya in the last three days, Sallum crossing commander Brig. Gen. Hussein El-Mabady told Youm7 Sunday.

Mabady added that 4,623 Egyptian workers arrived at the crossing Thursday and Friday, while about 1,300 arrived Saturday.

Libya is experiencing fierce battles between rival militias, namely between troops affiliated with the government and insurgent militias describing themselves as revolutionaries.

Twenty-three Egyptian workers were killed last week after a grad rocket struck their house in Tripoli.

Meanwhile, Tunisian authorities Saturday reopened the Ras Jadir crossing located on the border between Tunisia and Libya, where refugees fleeing violence in Libya are flocking to enter Tunisia.

The border was partially closed Friday following a state of chaos, and a stampede at the border, a Tunisian security source told the Tunisian state news agency TAP.

Tunisian border guards at Ras Jedir shot into the air and fired tear gas to stop Egyptians from storming the border with Libya to enter Tunisia, according to Reuters.

A video from the Associated Press shows the Tunisian border guards in Ras Jedir assaulting the stranded Egyptians trying to cross the border.

This came after two Egyptians on the Libyan-Tunisian border were killed Thursday when Libyan border guards opened fire on an Egyptian crowd, according to Reuters.

The Egyptian foreign ministry has for months warned Egyptians from traveling to Libya, and called on Egyptians who are still in Libya to seek safe places or to head to the Libyan-Tunisian border after Tunisia agreed to accept stranded Egyptians fleeing from Libya.

Almangy Salem, the head of the Red Crescent in the Tunisian Medenine governorate, told Asharq Alawsat newspaper Saturday that more than 15,000 Egyptians are still stuck at the border crossing, waiting to enter Tunisia.

He also added that Tunisia’s use of force against crowds Friday happened when a Tunisian officer was hit by a stray bullet. TAP reported a stray bullet from the Libyan side struck an officer in the leg.

Salem suggested Egyptian authorities evacuate their citizens by sending a ship to the Tunisian commercial port of Zarzis in Medenine governorate, as it is just 81 kilometers away from the Libyan-Tunisian border, Asharq Alawsat reported.

The Tunisian foreign ministry announced Saturday an airlift between Egypt and Tunisia to return stranded Egyptians.

This came after a meeting held Saturday morning between officials from the Tunisian Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Egyptian Ambassador to Tunisia, the Libyan Charge d’affaires in Tunisia and the Libyan General Consul in Tunisia, according to a statement by the Tunisian Foreign Ministry.

They agreed to evacuate Egyptian citizens through an airlift secured by the Egyptian authorities at a rate of six daily flights to Egypt, but it is not clear who will bear the expenses of moving Egyptians.

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