US orders non-essential personnel to leave Egypt

February 1, 2011 18:28

WASHINGTON— The State Department on Tuesday ordered non-essential US government personnel and their families to leave Egypt amid growing anti-government protests and uncertainty over the security situation.

In a statement, the department said it had ordered non-essential personnel to leave "in light of recent events." The move is an indication of Washington's deepening concern about developments in Egypt. The order replaces an initial decision last week to allow non-essential workers who wanted to leave the country to do so at government expense.

The department said it would continue to evacuate private US citizens from Egypt aboard government-chartered planes.

On Monday, the US evacuated more than 1,200 Americans from Cairo on such flights and said it expected to fly out roughly 1,400 more in the coming days. Monday's flights ferried Americans from Cairo to Larnaca, Cyprus; Athens, Greece; and Istanbul, Turkey. On Tuesday, the department expects to add Frankfurt, Germany as a destination.

It also hopes to arrange evacuation flights from the Egyptian cities of Aswan and Luxor.

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