NEWS

Athens sends planes to Libya to help Greeks leave

Greece has sent three military transport planes to Libya to collect Greeks who are seeking to leave the troubled country.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras told Skai TV on Thursday that the C-130 planes were heading to Tripoli and Sabha. They are due to collect about 100 Greeks from the Libyan capital and some 40 more from the southwestern city.

Most of the Greeks who will be evacuated work at construction sites in remote areas but the ministry said it notified them on Wednesday that the aircraft would be in place to help them leave Libya, which has been gripped by protests against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Two Greek-owned passenger ships, the Olympic Champion and the Hellenic Spirit, also docked at the port of Benghazi on Wednesday. They were due to take on board Greek citizens as well as other Europeans and Chinese passengers. Greece has agreed to help about 15,000 Chinese leave Libya.

Athens has also ordered the navy frigate Psara to the area.