Evacuation from Libya difficult due to Tripoli airport closure

Amid a deteriorating security situation in Libya, a group of 65 nurses from India are trapped in Tripoli, Indian officials say.
By JC Finley  |  July 28, 2014 at 2:18 PM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, July 28 (UPI) -- As the security situation in Tripoli worsens, many foreigners have been advised to depart Libya.

The closure of Tripoli's airport has, however, made evacuation more difficult.

A group of 65 nurses from India are among those who have become trapped in the now embattled capital.

Concerns about the security situation prompted the the U.S. to evacuate its embassy personnel on Saturday. U.S. military assets provided protection for the overland evacuation to neighboring Tunisia.

On Monday, India's diplomatic mission in Tripoli issued an advisory, encouraging its citizens "to use all available means for exiting Libya."

"In view of the current security situation in Libya, all Indian nationals are advised to move to safer places and avoid all conflict zones. They are further advised to use all available means for exiting Libya. All travel from India to Libya should be postponed till the situation improves."

Oomen Chandy, the chief minister from the southern Indian state of Kerala -- where many of the 65 nurses are from -- said that he had sought help facilitating the nurses' evacuation from federal Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Because Tripoli's airport is closed, Chandy is attempting to route an evacuation through nearby Mitiga airport, approximately 9 miles away. "Our request is to send a special flight to Mitiga airport and get all Indians back," he said.

France, Germany and the U.K. have all issued evacuation advisories to their citizens in Libya. The U.N. announced its evacuation from Libya a week earlier.

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