CAIRO: Some 278 Egyptians have arrived at the Sallum border crossing in the past 24 hours, returning from the war-torn Libya, Youm7 reported Thursday.
The arrivals include 157 Egyptian workers who were arrested during “illegal” attempts to cross the borders.
A gruesome video showing the beheading of 20 Egyptian Copts by Libya’s Islamic State (IS) group was released in mid-February; since then, the number of Egyptian returnees has hit 42,985, according to official numbers.
Egypt responded with airstrikes in Libya’s Derna that claimed the lives of 50 militants, according to the Egyptian army.
The militant group and other Islamist militias have controlled swaths of Libya’s territories and pushed the internationally recognized Libyan government to the east in Tobruk, a city close to Libya’s borders with Egypt.
However, the deteriorating security situation in the oil-rich country did not prevent attempted illegal immigration by Egyptians seeking to make a better living.
The Sallum border guards reportedly arrested hundreds of Egyptians and foreigners attempting to illegally cross into the Libyan territory.
Libya was home to at least 1 million Egyptian employees but hundreds of thousands of them have begun to return home due to the deteriorating security conditions following the popular uprising that toppled Muammar Gadhafi in 2011.
Egyptian borders’ authorities have recently announced escalation in their security measures to combat attempts of illegal immigration and smuggling.
Additional reporting by Hassan Mashaly