Greeks to be flown from Lebanon

Foreign Affairs Minister Dora Bakoyannis expressed concern yesterday that military action in Lebanon in the last few days may get out of control as the government prepared to evacuate around 50 Greek nationals from the country. The Foreign Ministry said that there has been a repatriation request from around 50 Greeks engaged in business activity in Lebanon. An Olympic Airlines plane was preparing yesterday to fly to the airport of Damascus, Syria, to collect the Greek citizens, according to the ministry. It added that the plane, which seats 150 people, could leave on three hours’ notice. There are an estimated 2,500 Greeks currently in Lebanon. Cyprus also said yesterday that more than 100 Cypriots and other foreign nationals were evacuated after being taken from Lebanon to Syria. The 115 evacuees – 102 Cypriots, six Britons, four French citizens and two Czechs and one American – arrived at Larnaca airport. Since Wednesday, Israel has hit hundreds of targets in Lebanon, closing down the country’s sole international airport and damaging the main highway to neighboring Syria. The three-day death toll has risen to 73, almost all civilians. Bakoyannis described the Israeli strikes as being «excessive» and condemned the strikes against civilians. «The military action in the last few days in Lebanon is beyond boundaries and is escalating dangerously. It can get out of control during an already crucial time for the Middle East,» she said. «The situation causes great concern in the international community and of course for Greece,» she added.