US, Turkey, Iraq, China urge citizens to leave Egypt

Belgium, India, Philippines also issue travel warnings, offer practical help to tourists to flee country plagued by anti-gov't protests.

Egyptian rioters with pita 311 (photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
Egyptian rioters with pita 311
(photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
The US Embassy in Cairo has told Americans in Egypt to consider leaving the country as soon as possible. The Sunday morning travel warning said the Embassy will update Americans about departure assistance as soon as possible.
It said US citizens should avoid travel to Egypt because of unrest, violence, and ongoing demonstrations against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's government.
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The US State Department said it had authorized the voluntary departure of dependents of diplomats and non-essential workers in Egypt, Reuters reported.
A number of countries, including Turkey, Belgium, Iraq, India, China and the Philippines, followed the US and also issued warnings and offered to help citizens and tourists leave Egypt.
Turkey was evacuating about 750 citizens and the Chinese government warned against travel to Egypt. Private tour groups and corporations began trying to evacuate their clients and expatriate employees. But dozens of flights were canceled and delayed and crowds filled Cairo International Airport, desperate and unable to leave.
Click here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in EgyptClick here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in Egypt
The Iraqi government said it will evacuate its citizens living in Egypt. Sunday's offer was a role reversal since many of the Iraqis living in Egypt fled their homeland because of rampant violence, with near-daily attacks still continuing.
Transportation Ministry spokesman Aqeel Hadi Kawthar told The Associated Press that "we will send whatever planes needed to those who want to leave Egypt." He said the number of flights will depend on demand.
Belgium's Jetair tour operator said it will evacuate its remaining tourists from Egypt starting Monday. The company said in an announcement on its website that two flights bound for Sharm e-Sheikh and Hurghada had departed empty on Sunday in order to bring back those wishing to leave.
Officials in the Philippines said that they had set aside an emergency evacuation fund and identified possible escape routes for thousands of Filipinos in Egypt and advised its citizens to defer nonessential travel.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said that a number of senior envoys will fly to Egypt to help ensure the safety of more than 6,500 Filipinos there, mostly maids and students.
The Indian Government arranged a special Air India flight, at the request of the Indian community in Egypt which will carry 300 Indians, mainly women and children, from Cairo to India on Sunday.
The Indian Embassy in Cairo was supervising the arrangements.