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Red Cross returns to Benghazi

"Improved security" has enabled a team from the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to return to the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

The four-member team returned on Friday, two days after the team had relocated to Tobruk, further east, the ICRC website said.

“We are eager to carry on supporting hospitals, visiting detainees in Benghazi and elsewhere and working with the Libyan Red Crescent to help civilians. At the same time, we continue to urge both parties to let us access other cities and areas, so we can assist other people affected by the fighting,” said the ICRC head of mission in Libya, Simon Brooks, quoted on the website.

The ICRC is moving more food, including rice, sugar, oil, lentils and salt, as well as household items into Libya. The website says 180 tonnes of relief goods were shipped to Benghazi on Tuesday, and more trucks are on the way from Egypt to Tobruk.

The organisation is also continuing to help people stuck at Libya’s borders with Egypt and Tunisia to contact their families, and is supporting the Egyptian and Tunisian Red Crescent Societies in providing essential services to them.

Meanwhile the Geneva-based office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on Libya’s neighbours to keep their borders open to accept refugees. It says more and more Libyans have been trying to get into Egypt as forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi push eastwards.

A UNHCR spokesman said it was not clear what impact Thursday’s UN decision to impose a no-fly zone over Libya would have on the numbers of people trying to leave the country.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR