Red Cross Ferry Takes 300 From Libyan Capital

Posted June 24th, 2011 at 11:05 am (UTC-5)
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The International Committee for the Red Cross has brought some 300 people out of Tripoli to be reunited with family members in eastern Libya, under rebel control.

A VOA correspondent on scene says the ship pulled into Benghazi harbor Friday on the first of three journeys the Red Cross has arranged to bring home those displaced by the months of conflict in Libya.

After those who made the journey from Tripoli to Benghazi debarked, another 110 people, stuck in eastern Libya away from their homes since February, will be taking the ship back west to the capital.

The Red Cross says another trip in the coming days will bring several hundred more people back to the rebel stronghold.

The ICRC operation reunites families that were separated because of the recent conflict. People from other parts of Libya who were in Tripoli working, studying or visiting relatives were stranded after the conflict broke out, due to the difficulty of crossing front lines.

Officials of the rebels' Transitional National Council boarded the ferry before allowing passengers to leave. They said they were double-checking identity documents and interviewing returnees to ensure that no spies from Moammar Gadhafi's government were among them.

Rebels fighting Mr. Gadhafi's forces have taken over much of the eastern half of the country. They also control pockets in the west, including the vital port city of Misrata, about 200 kilometers from the capital, Tripoli.