Air Force Transports Refugees Back to Egypt

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2011 — Two U.S. Air Force C‑130s will trans­port Egypt­ian refugees from Tunisia to Cairo today, Defense Depart­ment offi­cials said.
“The air­craft should be on the ground in Djer­ba now,” said Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan, refer­ring to the Tunisian island where crews are pick­ing up the refugees. “The plan is for them to trans­port 150 Egyp­tians who have fled the fight­ing in Libya back home.”

These will be the ninth and 10th flights tak­ing Egyp­tians to their home coun­try. The effort began over the week­end, with 640 Egyp­tians flown home. The air­craft are based in Ram­stein, Ger­many, and flew out of Sou­da Bay Naval Activ­i­ty on the Greek island of Crete.

The 10 flights are in addi­tion to two flights that brought human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance to refugees who trav­eled out of Libya to Tunisia. The two sor­ties deliv­ered 2,000 blan­kets, 40 rolls of plas­tic sheet­ing and 9,600 10-liter plas­tic water con­tain­ers.

No oth­er sor­ties are planned, nor have any been request­ed, Lapan said. Still, he added, U.S. Africa Com­mand plan­ners remain ready.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Under­sec­re­tary of Defense for Pol­i­cy Michele Flournoy will rep­re­sent the Defense Depart­ment at a White House meet­ing today on the sit­u­a­tion in Libya, Lapan said.

Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates is in Brus­sels, Bel­gium, where he will par­tic­i­pate in a meet­ing of NATO defense min­is­ters that begins tomor­row. Libya will fig­ure promi­nent­ly in those dis­cus­sions, NATO Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Anders Fogh Ras­mussen said ear­li­er this week.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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