(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama announced Thursday that he had approved the use of military planes to transport Egyptian refugees, back to their home country. The Egyptians were in Libya, but they recently crossed the border into Tunisia to flee the civil unrest.
Defense officials said the operation will be run by Africa Command (Africom) which is based in Stuttgart, Germany. One of the officials said Africom will use between two and four C-130 aircraft based in Germany to carry out the flights between Tunisia and Egypt.
A defense official said a larger scale effort will be the civilian charters that Obama said would be hired by USAID to ferry refugees from other countries to their homelands. President Obama also announced Thursday that he would be sending USAID humanitarian assistance teams to the Libyan border.
There could be a flight as early as Friday, but there are still many things to be worked out with this effort, said another official. If a plane does go in Friday, it would likely bring in the support teams needed to carry out the operation from Tunisia.
Officials said the U.S. military will take their cues from the State Department and USAID, which are coordinating with non-governmental organizations on the border to determine who will get on the flights.
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