Israel Airlifts Dozens of Nationals Out of Egypt

Israeli embassy in Cairo closed since protests began Thursday; will remain closed Sunday.

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Israel's national airline El AL has whisked some 200 of its nationals, including families of diplomats, out of Egypt on board an emergency flight to escape the chaos engulfing the Arab country.

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Protesters shout anti-goverment slogans during a demonstration in Cairo, January 29, 2011.Credit: Reuters

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman decided on Friday to remove the diplomatic families from Egypt. A special El Al flight including dozens of tourists as well as diplomat's families landed at Ben Gurion Airport early Saturday evening.

Israel's ambassador to Egypt, Yitzhak Levanon and diplomats have remained in Cairo.

The Israeli embassy in Cairo has been closed since the riots broke out, and will remain closed on Sunday.

El Al does not usually fly on the Jewish sabbath to appease observant Jewish passengers who do not travel on the day of rest. El Al refused to comment.

Since the riots broke out the Foreign Ministry conducted status updates on Egypt every couple of hours and Lieberman has been keeping abreast on the protests.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Foreign Ministry announced that they were keeping close track of the volatile situation in neighboring Egypt, but are refraining from taking a political stance.

The prime minister's office has issued strict guidelines to all ministers and government officials not to comment on the current situation in Egypt.

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