Egyptian shot dead at Tunisian-Libyan border, Algeria to open border for Egyptians

Eduard Cousin
4 Min Read

An Egyptian was shot dead by Libyan security forces at the Tunisian-Libyan border on Friday while trying to cross the border into Tunisia, a Tunisian security source told Tunisian press agency TAP.

Libyan security opened fire to prevent Egyptian national Mohamed Youssef from “breaking into” the Ras Jdeir crossing, state-run news agency MENA reported, as hundreds of Egyptians tried to force a way through the border crossing on Friday.

Approximately 1,200 Egyptians, fleeing the ongoing violence in Libya, crossed into Tunisia on Friday, according to TAP. They are expected to be transferred from Tunisia to Cairo Airport by the emergency lift the Ministry of Civil Aviation reinstated last Tuesday.

On Sunday, 10 August Minister of Civil Aviation Hossam Kamal ended the airlift, saying that most Egyptians in Tunisia had been evacuated; however, it was resumed as Egyptians continued to flock into Tunisia. The ministry expected the number of Egyptians evacuated to rise to over 14,200 on Friday.

Lotfi Gimeny, head of the Gabes Matmata airport in Tunisia, said that five Egyptian planes arrived on Friday to carry the Egyptians home, the Kuwait News Agency reported.

Libya’s other western neighbour, Algeria, will open its borders with Libya for Egyptian refugees, Egypt’s ambassador to Algeria Ezz El-Din Fahmy said in a Thursday statement on CBC channel.

He said that Algeria would give Egyptians who are stuck at the border exceptional visas to facilitate their return to Egypt, and that they would be transferred to Cairo by air.

Violence in Libya escalated drastically last May when General Khalifa Haftar declared war on “terrorism”, resulting in heavy fighting between several secular and Islamist militia. The central government, denouncing Haftar as an outlaw, has lost its grip on the country.

Tripoli Airport has been closed since 13 July due to the fighting, and this was soon after followed by the evacuation of UN staff from the country. Two week later, the US and several other countries closed their embassies and pulled their diplomatic staff out of Libya.

On 7 August a delegation from the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) arrived in Tripoli to consult with different Libyan parties to find a way to end the violence and assess the humanitarian needs in the country.

In a Friday statement the EU condemned the increasing violence in the country, adding it is “strongly concerned by the threats it represents for regional security and for the European Union.” The EU “acknowledged” the efforts of neighbouring countries to solve the crisis and their solidarity with displaced persons from Libya.

Egyptian workers in Libya, an estimated 1.6 million, according to Libyan Ambassador to Egypt Mohammed Fayez Jibril, have suffered from the violence in the country. A total of 23 Egyptians died on 28 July when their house was hit during the shelling of Tripoli. The foreign ministry has called on all Egyptians residing in Tripoli and Benghazi to evacuate.

On 4 August an Egyptian TV-producer, Mohamed Jalal Ahmed Okasha, was abducted by armed men in Libya along with four colleagues. His family filed a complaint in Friday to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, urging it to step up efforts to pressure the Libyan authorities to facilitate his release, state-owned Al-Ahram reported.

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Managing Editor of Daily News Egypt since January 2015. I moved to Egypt in June 2013, just before the 30 June protests, and have been working here in media ever since. Strong love/hate relationship with Cairo, which tends more to the love side when I'm smoking shisha in an ahwa. Aside work, I occasionally play in musicals.
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