Israeli diplomats evacuated from the Ivory Coast

April 9, 2011 21:10

The UN on Friday used armored vehicles to extricate four Israeli diplomats holed up in the embassy in an embattled area of Abidjan to one of the secure areas in the city, and from there they were flown by helicopter to the airport and then by plane to neighboring Ghana.

The embassy was hit by gunfire last week but no one was injured. The embassy is located in an area of embassies and government offices that last week was the scene of intense fighting between forces loyal to the incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo, who  refuses to give up power, and those of  Alassane Ouattara, who beat Gbagbo in an election in November.

Lieberman spoke last week to French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and asked to allow the diplomats, including ambassador Daniel Sa'ada, and other Israelis in the city to take shelter at a secure French base in the city.  Some 18 Israelis – making up seven families --  are still believed to be in Abidjan.

The French embassy in Tel Aviv issued a statement Saturday welcoming the evacuation of the Israeli diplomats.

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