A Canadian chartered ship was being sent Wednesday to rescue more than 300 Americans, Australians and citizens of other nations stranded in south Lebanon, as the massive evacuation from the fighting wound down.
"We hopefully will get them out on a commercial vessel later this evening," US Marine Corps Brig.-Gen. Carl Jensen, head of the US part of the multination evacuations, said Wednesday.
Speaking from Cyprus to a Defense Department news conference, Jensen said that with the pickup, more than 14,000 Americans will have been evacuated from the region, torn by fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas. Some 35,000 people of various nationalities have been evacuated through Cyprus since fighting broke out July 2, the Cypriot government has said.
"We hope this will be, if not all, then certainly the lion's share of those who wish to leave," Jensen said. "But we may never know for sure."