No accurate figure on Egypt expats in Libya: Official

CAIRO (AA) – The head of Egypt's official statistics agency said Monday that the agency did not have an accurate figure for the number of Egyptian expatriates in Libya.

"The number of Egyptian nationals in Libya was estimated at 1.2 million before the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions," Abu Bakr Abdel-Karim, who heads Egypt's central agency for public mobilization and statistics, told The Anadolu Agency.

"The post-revolution phase saw three waves of Egyptian immigration: two through Egypt's western Salloum border crossing and one from Libya to Tunisia," Abdel-Karim said.

Abdel-Karim explained that it was difficult to obtain accurate data on the number of Egyptian expatriates in Libya due to the absence of Egypt's ambassador to Tripoli, who had been the agency's primary source of information.

On Sunday, 380 Egyptians arrived from Libya through Egypt's western Salloum border crossing, the official said.

Al-Enani Hammouda, police chief in Egypt's western Matrouh province, told reporters that "every measure is being taken to provide returning expats with comfort and expedite crossing procedures."

Earlier Monday, Egypt's army announced that warplanes had carried out a series of airstrikes in neighboring Libya against ISIL targets.

The airstrikes came one day after a video appeared online showing the execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic-Christian workers in Libya by masked men purportedly belonging to ISIL.

Fractious Libya has remained a source of concern for neighboring Egypt since it descended into chaos following the 2011 ouster and death of strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Last month, the Egyptian government – citing security concerns – banned its citizens from travelling to neighboring Libya via Libyan Airlines.

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