Monday, January 31, 2011

U.S. Begins Evacuation Flights From Cairo

CAIRO — The State Department began a voluntary evacuation of hundreds of American citizens from Egypt on specially chartered flights to “safe havens” on Monday as unrest continued to roil the country.

Cairo International Airport on Monday was a chaotic scene, overflowing with tourists and Egyptians desperate to get on an outbound commercial flight. Outside Terminal 1 more than 1,000 people — mostly Egyptians — sat on sidewalks and in the airport parking lot, surrounded by luggage.

Tempers boiled over at times as travelers struggled to get seats on the limited number of commercial flights still operating. At one point the airport stopped posting flight times on its departure board, The Associated Press reported, in an attempt to ease tensions. But the move served only to stoke anger over delays and cancellations.

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