US plans charter flights to evacuate Americans from Cairo (VIDEO)


As the threat of further unrest loomed in Egypt, the United States was planning charter flights to help Americans leave the country Monday.

The Egyptian opposition has announced it hopes a million people will turn out in Cairo on Tuesday in a "mega protest" to pressure President Hosni Mubarak into giving up power, according to Al Jazeera.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy was emailing Americans in Egypt urging them to go to the airport after 11 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET) if they wanted to be evacuated, NBC News reported.

A chartered flight evacuating American citizens had already arrived on the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus early Monday afternoon, after being delayed because of heavy traffic at Cairo's airport.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Janice Jacobs told reporters Sunday she expected it would take several flights over the coming days to fly out the thousands of Americans who wanted to leave Egypt.

U.S. officials were considering Istanbul; Nicosia, Cyprus; and Athens, Greece, as possible destinations for American evacuees, although the list was not finalized Sunday afternoon, Jacobs said.

In Cairo, thousands of people crammed inside the international airport's new Terminal 3 trying to get flights out.

Other governments and businesses had also said they planned to evacuate citizens amid escalating protests across the country, according to CNN.

Canada's government has said it would begin charter flights bound for Europe evacuating as many as 6,000 of its citizens from Egypt on Monday; Australia announced Monday that it planned to provide an emergency flight out Wednesday; Thai Airways said Monday that it was preparing a special flight from Cairo; and Mexico's government urged its citizens to consider leaving the country as the threat of further unrest loomed.

Two special El Al flights with Israelis returning from Egypt landed in Israel early Monday, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. A flight Saturday brought back families of Israeli diplomats.