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US Marines in Beirut Helping  Americans Fleeing Lebanon


U.S. Marines landed on a beach near Beirut Thursday to help evacuate thousands of Americans caught up in the week-long Israeli bombardment of Lebanon.

Forty Marines helped carry about 1,000 Americans to the naval vessel U.S.S. Nashville, which then headed to Cyprus.

The evacuation of Americans is expected to last several days. The first group to leave Lebanon returned to the United States today, arriving at an airport near Baltimore, Maryland.

Ships chartered by European nations and other governments also are ferrying foreigners out of Lebanon.

India says the first group of its citizens are on an Indian naval vessel and headed to Cyprus. Bangladesh and the Philippines are appealing for help to get their nationals out.

And Ethiopia says it is trying to get its nationals out through Syria.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo said her government is doing everything possible to move 30,000 Philippine workers in Lebanon out of harms way. She appealed to the combatants to spare Filipinos caught in the conflict.

Thousands of Lebanese and citizens of other Arab nations have traveled into Syria by road to escape the fighting.

U.S. officials say 8,000 of the 25,000 Americans in Lebanon have asked for help to leave.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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