555 Egypt expats back from Libya in 1 day: Official

CAIRO (AA) – The number of Egyptian expatriates in Libya who returned home within the past 24 hours has reached 555, an Egyptian official said Tuesday.

"Over the past 24 hours, 555 Egyptians in Libya returned to Egypt through the Salloum border crossing," crossing director Mohamed Metwalli was quoted as saying by Egypt's official news agency.

"The situation is stable, especially in Libya's eastern region near the border with Egypt," Metwalli said.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, meanwhile, voiced his appreciation for his Tunisian counterpart, Taieb Baccouche, for helping Egyptian expats in western Libya return home via Tunisia.

Abu Bakr Abdel-Karim, head of Egypt's official statistics agency, told The Anadolu Agency on Monday that the number of Egyptian nationals in Libya was estimated at "some 1.2 million before the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions."

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

On Sunday, 380 Egyptians arrived home from Libya via the Salloum border crossing, noted Abdel-Karim.

Earlier Monday, Egypt's military announced it had carried out a series of airstrikes in neighboring Libya targeting sites associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militant group.

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

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

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


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