Russia sends plane to evacuate tourists from riot-hit Tunisia

08:45, January 17, 2011      

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Russia has sent a plane on Sunday to Tunisia to evacuate Russian tourists from the riot-hit North African country, said the Russian airline Transaero.

A Transaero passenger plane, which took off from Moscow's Domodedovo airport in the morning, will arrive in Tunisia four hours later and fly back to Moscow after maintenance, the airline's spokesperson told RIA Novosti news agency.

"A 235-seat Boeing 767 will evacuate 192 Russian tourists who arrived in Tunisia aboard Transaero passenger jets, and also 27 tourists who arrived there on their own and had registered for the flight. For the remaining seats, Transaero will organize air ticket sale directly at Monastir airport," said Transaero.

The Russian Sport, Tourism and Youth Ministry announced on Saturday that Russia would evacuate all nationals from Tunisia which is suffering massive chaos currently.

Nadezhda Nazina, deputy minister of the ministry, told local media that currently some 200 Russian tourists are still in Tunisia.

Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled his country on Friday after 23 years in power amid massive demonstrations that asked him to step down. The plane he boarded landed in the Saudi city of Jeddah early Saturday.

Tunisia sealed off its air space on Friday and then on Saturday reopened passenger air corridors in three of its largest cities.

The country plunged into chaos in mid-December, when people protested against rising food costs and rampant unemployment.

Source: Xinhua

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