Thousands trying to leave Tripoli: IOM

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Thousands of migrants are seeking to leave Tripoli, the scene of intense violence in recent days as rebels push into the capital, the International Organization for Migration said Friday.

"There are already thousands of Egyptians who are ready for evacuation now, and what we are hearing is that every day that there are more and more requests," spokeswoman of the inter-governmental agency Jemini Pandya told reporters.

Pandya added that although she could not give an exact breakdown of request by nationalities, along with Egyptians there were many other African nationals in Libya's embattled capital.

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

"There is no way for you to get out," Pandya said, explaining that the IOM was preparing evacuation plans, to commence "as soon as possible", and probably by sea.

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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