Chinese state media say Beijing has sent four military transport planes to help in the massive evacuation of its nationals from strife-torn Libya.
The Chinese Defense Ministry announced the move Monday, but did not provide details of the aerial evacuation or when the massive IL-76 planes would return home. The official Xinhua news agency said the deployment had been approved by the country's Central Military Commission.
China last week took the unprecedented step of sending a navy missile frigate to the Libyan coast to protect sea craft that have so far helped evacuate most of the 29,000 Chinese workers in Libya to nearby countries. Xinhua describes the evacuation as the country's largest-ever push to bring home its nationals, and says foreign commercial jetliners charted by Beijing were also involved in the evacuations.
The agency said 10,000 of the evacuees were currently on the Greek island of Crete, and 11,000 more were on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The remainder were scattered in Khartoum, Sudan, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.