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US Urges Quick Action for Citizens Wishing to Leave Egypt

U.S. embassy staff member puts luggage into an X-ray machine as U.S. citizens are evacuated at Cairo airport, Egypt, February 2, 2011

The United States has urged all of its citizens wishing to leave Egypt to proceed to Cairo's airport as soon as possible after the end of a government-imposed nighttime curfew.

The State Department issued the warning late Wednesday, after increasing violence fueled by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's announcement he will not step down before the end of his term.

The State Department also released a statement Wednesday saying it has evacuated about 1,900 U.S. citizens and their family members in an operation that began Monday.

Britain announced Wednesday that it is sending a chartered aircraft to Cairo to bring back British citizens who wish to leave.

However, the head of a charter plane service says efforts to evacuate foreigners are being hampered by a chaotic scene at Cairo's airport. Air Partner chief executive Mark Briffa says the airport is in a state of "pandemonium" because of the huge influx of people and planes.

On Tuesday, Germany announced it had extended a travel warning to all of Egypt, including the popular Red Sea resorts. Thousands of tourists from Germany, Britain and France travel to Egypt each year.

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

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