CAIRO - (AP) - Cairo's international airport was a scene of chaosand confusion today as thousands of foreigners sought to flee theunrest in Egypt, and countries around the world scrambled to sendin planes to fly their citizens out.
Nerves frayed and shouting and shoving matches erupted asthousands crammed into Cairo airport's new Terminal 3 seeking aflight home. The airport's departures board stopped announcingflight times in an attempt to reduce the tension - but the planbackfired, fueling passengers' anger.
Making matters worse, check-in counters were poorly staffedbecause many EgyptAir employees had been unable to get to work dueto a 3 p.m.-to-8 a.m. curfew and traffic breakdowns across theEgyptian capital.
The U.S. State Department said today it has evacuated more than1,200 Americans from Egypt aboard government-chartered planes andexpects to fly out roughly 1,400 more in the coming days.
Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that by the end of Mondaysix planes will have flown nine flights ferrying U.S. citizens fromCairo to Larnaca, Cyprus; Athens, Greece; and Istanbul, Turkey. Hesaid that on Tuesday an additional destination, Frankfurt, Germany,will be added, and that the department plans to add evacuationflights from Aswan and Luxor, Egypt.
In addition to the chartered aircraft, Crowley said a smallnumber of Americans left Egypt on a Canadian evacuation flight andabout 70 left on Sunday aboard a U.S. military plane that wasbringing in embassy staff.
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