Migrant group planning to evacuate thousands from Tripoli

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Plans for the evacuation of thousands of migrants stranded in Tripoli are being drawn up as rebels begin advancing into the capital, the International Organization for Migration said Friday.

"The evacuation has not yet started and we do not yet have a date. We are still working on putting it into a plan, and will not begin until everything is in place," IOM spokeswoman Jemini Pandya told AFP.

Earlier Friday, the IOM said thousands of migrants, many of them Egyptians, were stranded in the Libyan capital as exit points are cut off following a series of rebel successes.

"There are already thousands of Egyptians who are ready for evacuation now, and what we are hearing is that every day there are more and more requests," Pandya said.

"They can't get out by road because the nearest exit point would be Tunisia, and the fighting on the western front has closed off that option," she said.

"There is no way for you to get out," Pandya said.

She added that well over 600,000 people have left Libya since the start of the crisis, but the exact number of migrants still in Tripoli was unknown.

© 2011 AFP

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