CAIRO: The Cairo International Airport has received since the early hours of Wednesday 821 Egyptians fleeing the unrest in Libya on board three flights operated by EgyptAir.
The fleeing Egyptians traveled through the Djerba Airport in Tunisia after crossing the borders between Libya and Tunisia.
Flights carrying Egyptians from Libya to Egypt have been active since President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi urged the government to facilitate the return of Egyptian nationals there, following the release of a video Feb.15 showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts by a Libyan branch of the Islamic State group.
Youm7 reported that 2,825 Egyptians have returned via 11 flights since Saturday Feb.21.
A total number of arrivals through the Sallum crossing border is estimated at 22,000, AP reported Wednesday.
In response to the mass beheading video, Egypt launched airstrikes in Libya’s Derna on alleged IS targets, with intentions to expand the fight with the militant group that threatens Egypt’s western border.
On the same day of the airstrikes, Fajr Libya militant group called on Egyptian nationals in Libya to leave within 48 hours “for their own safety from reprisals.”
Fajr Libya Islamist militants are among the many militias who have announced their control of parts of western Libya as they are fighting against the Libyan national army, which is now based in Tobruk.
Libya has been one of the biggest destinations for Egyptians who seek to make their living. The North African country was dragged into security unrest since its 2011 uprising, which has prompted thousands of Egyptians among others to escape the turmoil.
The Ministry of Manpower announced on Saturday that the number of Egyptians returned in 2011 reached 170,000 and in 2014 reached 72,745.
Additional reporting by Mahmoud Othman and Rehab Nabil