By Marina Makary
Sunday saw the return of 3,107 Egyptians to Egypt through the Salloum border to Libya, state media reported.
According to Marsa Matruh’s Security Director Al-Anani Hammouda, the border crossing witnessed increasing numbers of fleeing Egyptians in the past few days. This comes following the airstrikes that targeted “Islamic State” (IS) in Libya, conducted by the Egyptian army in coordination with the Libyan government.
More than 150 Egyptians fled Libya via air transport from the Tunisian city of Djerba and arrived at Cairo International Airport Friday.
Although most Egyptians have decided to flee Libya due to the current political unrest, some still choose to stay. Walid Abu Shahin, an Egyptian living in Libya, told Daily News Egypt that the deteriorating situation in Egypt is not encouraging for anyone to go back.
Abu Shahin lives in the capital city of Tripoli, which is currently controlled by Libya Dawn, a coalition of Islamist militias. He added: “We all think of travelling back to Egypt because of the constant threats to our lives, but we are unsure if we will even reach Tobruk or not.”
Libya Dawn issued a statement last week, calling on Egyptian workers in Libya to evacuate the country within 48 hours, to avoid any criminal acts against them.
Abu Shahin also stated that there are still Egyptians getting kidnapped, and there is no official local or international recognition of the matter.
The number of Egyptians fleeing Libya saw a sudden boost shortly after a video was released showing alleged IS militants beheading 20 Egyptian Copts and one non-Egyptian on Libyan territories.
A bombing in eastern Libya took a total of 40 lives Friday, six of whom were Egyptian. IS claimed the killing of “tens” in retaliatory operations against the Egyptian airstrike launched in coordination with the Libyan government last week.
The dangerous conditions in Libya have forced thousands of Egyptians to flee the country, reportedly with the help of the Egyptian foreign ministry.