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Colombia to Evacuate Citizens in Lebanon

August 9, 2006

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ Colombia will send a plane to evacuate more than 100 of its citizens fleeing the fighting in Lebanon, a senator helping to organize the mission said Tuesday.

``We’re going to get more than 100 Colombians in the war there and bring them directly to Colombia,″ said Sen. Jairo Clopatofsky.

The Colombians are expected to travel overland to the Syrian capital of Damascus from Lebanon. With the help of the air force, a plane will leave Wednesday to pick up the citizens in Syria.

The mission will also deliver some 650 pounds of medicine to be transported into Lebanon.

Colombia’s foreign ministry estimates there were about 2,000 citizens in Lebanon _ all of whom also possessed Lebanese nationality _ before the Israeli invasion. The government believes only about 200 remain.

Like many South American countries, Colombia has received waves of immigrants from Syria and Lebanon throughout its history.

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