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UPDATED: 10:01, July 18, 2006
U.S. prepares large-scale evacuation of Americans from Lebanon
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The United States said on Monday that it has moved a total of 64 Americans out of Lebanon and is preparing to evacuate the Americans in the country in large scale.

Among the 64 people, "the majority of those people have been private citizens who have expressed a desire to leave Lebanon," with a small number of Americans working at the embassy, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said at a briefing.

"We have started the process of moving people out in groups of tens. What we hope, in the very near future, is to start moving people out in groups of hundreds ... we're moving from tens of people leaving at a time to hundreds of people leaving at a time., " the spokesman said.

There are about 25,000 Americans working or living in Lebanon.

The U.S. move came after the face-off between Israel and the Lebanese group Hezbollah escalated sharply in recent days. Dozens of Lebanese citizens have been killed and more than 100 wounded in Israeli raids. Israel has suffered casualties as well.

Source: Xinhua

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