Austria evacuates hundreds from Egypt

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Austria started evacuating hundreds of its citizens from Egypt overnight following the large-scale protests to oust President Hosni Mubarak, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

An Austrian Airlines flight commissioned by the ministry landed shortly after midnight in Vienna with 138 passengers on board.

A plane from the Austrian army followed Tuesday morning with 66 travellers, the ministry said.

Onboard the military flight were mostly non-Austrians -- Germans, French, Britons, Czechs, one Chilean and one Swiss national -- according to the army.

Monday evening, a regular Austrian Airlines plane had already brought back 182 passengers.

The foreign ministry estimated that some 1,500 Austrian nationals still remained in Egypt, including a "small group" of tourists in Luxor and the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, and a larger group in Cairo.

Army spokesman Peter Barthou said further flights would be organised over the coming days to evacuate tourists stranded in Egypt, but "not before tomorrow."

Teams of experts from the foreign, defence and interior ministries were also on the ground to help organise evacuations.

© 2011 AFP

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