CAIRO: Some 27, 608 Egyptians arrived in Egypt through the Sallum western border crossing since Egyptian airstrikes hit Islamic State group targets in Libya in mid-February, Youm7 reported Wednesday.
During the past 24 hours, 734 arrived; 541 legally while 163 illegally, the Matrouh security director El-Anani Hamouda told Youm7.
A video posted by the Islamic State (IS) group Feb. 15 showed the militant group beheading 20 Egyptian Copts in Libya’s Sirte; Egypt retaliated the next morning with airstrikes launched by the Egyptian army against suspected militant locations in Derna.
Cairo has urged Egyptian nationals in the troubled North African country to return; the border and the Cairo International Airport are receiving hundreds every day.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated it continues its talks with Tunisian and Algerian officials to coordinate the arrival of Egyptians through the two countries’ borders with Libya. Egyptian arrivals either come through Djerba airport in Tunisia or Ain Amnas airport in Algeria.
Since Feb. 20, 7,649 Egyptians arrived at Cairo airport, according to Youm7.
Youm7 also reported that 55 Egyptian fishermen arrived on board of four fishing boats escaping Libyan turmoil and fights between militant groups and the government army.
It is not the first time Egyptians have fled unrest in Libya, as the country has gradually fallen into a security vacuum since its 2011 uprising.
The Ministry of Manpower announced that the number of Egyptians returned in 2011 reached 170,000 and in 2014 reached 72,745.
Additional reporting by Hassan Mashal