Thousands of foreign nationals are attempting to flee Lebanon as it is plunged deeper into conflict. Britain plucked the first of its stranded nationals to safety via military helicopter. Plans for a broader evacuation are in place with Royal Navy ships sent to the region. The European Union has urged Israel to guarantee the safety of EU citizens in Lebanon. Many crowded outside their embassies, desperately looking for a way home.
French nationals were hoping to escape on the day their prime minister flew into Beirut to express France’s solidarity with its former colony. Paris has chartered a 1,000 passenger ferry as part of its rescue efforts. An Italian military ship left Larnaca in Cyprus to come to the aid of its nationals. “I am leaving because the Israelis are bombing Lebanon and all the civilians here indiscriminately and destroying the country,” said Italian citizen Katya Saab.
The US has a commercial cruise ship available from Tuesday for evacuation duties. The Republic of Ireland has already started to bus its citizens over the border to Syria. “We live here, we work here. We have been living here for over two years now,” said Irish citizen Tom Burg. “We love the country and we have always felt very safe here. It is just a shame that this is happening now and we hope to be back very soon.” Foreigners are leaving, aware that their passports won’t protect them from danger. On Sunday, seven Canadians were among those killed on Lebanese soil.