Africa

Hundreds of Egyptians barred from entering Libya

Egyptians at Tripoli airport
Image caption Dozens of Egyptians remain stranded at the capital's airport

Hundreds of Egyptians have been barred from entering Libya through the airport in the capital Tripoli.

Staff at the capital's Maitiga airport told the BBC they have been ordered by immigration officials not to allow any Egyptians into the country until further notice.

Dozens remain stranded at the airport.

The Islamist-affiliated militias in control of Tripoli have accused Egypt of bombing their allies, who hold power in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says that the decision to introduce visa restrictions is likely to be a politically motivated move to put pressure on Cairo.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians live and work in Libya, and in recent weeks some have alleged that they have been intimidated by armed groups.

Image caption An Egyptian worker called Muhammad at Maitiga airport

Nearly 800 Egyptians arriving in Libya have been sent back since Thursday, officials said.

Several passengers still stranded at Maitiga airport said they had valid visas but airport staff had told them they could not enter because Cairo was bombing Libya.

Since the uprising in 2011, Libya has been gripped by a power struggle between the militias who drove out Muammar Gaddafi.

The interim government, recognised internationally, has fled to the city of Tobruk because of unrest in Tripoli.

However, Islamist-affiliated militias who control Tripoli and Benghazi have announced the formation of their own government.

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