WASHINGTON, March 15, 2011 — The Air Force today airlifted 175 Egyptians home from Tunisia to Cairo in the latest U.S. transport of refugees fleeing the turmoil in Libya, a Pentagon spokeswoman said today.
The Egyptians had been in Libya and fled to Tunisia when violence broke out last month between groups seeking political reforms and forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. They stayed several weeks in camps in Djerba, Tunisia.
Two Air Force KC-130 aircraft flew the Egyptians from Djerba to Cairo today. Air Force and Marine Corps aircraft now have returned more than 1,100 Egyptians to Cairo at the request of the Egyptian government since March 5, Navy Cmdr. Wendy Snyder said.
The Air Force KC-130s are based out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany, but are staging at Naval Station Souda Bay, Crete, for transporting the evacuees, Snyder said.
More than 250,000 people have fled the fighting in Libya since it began last month, United Nations officials said, with about 6,000 people leaving Libya each day.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)