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Fear turns to relief...

ANXIOUS families spoke of their relief as Bahrainis studying in Egypt returned home safely yesterday from a country in turmoil.

Relatives had waited patiently at Bahrain International Airport with flowers for several hours for their loved ones after two Egypt Air flights were delayed by several hours due to a rush of people wanting to leave Egypt.

Bahrain had urged its nationals to return home due to fears of violence amid the escalating situation there.

The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has been arrested by Egyptian security forces in a crackdown against the Islamist movement after the army unseated the country's first democratically elected president.

The dramatic exit of President Mohamed Mursi has been greeted with delight by millions of people on the streets of Cairo and other cities, but there is simmering resentment among Egyptians who oppose military intervention.

Diplomats confirmed that more than 900 people had already flown home by Wednesday as they worked round-the-clock to ensure the safety of those who chose to remain.

Officials from the Bahrain Embassy in Cairo could not be reached to confirm how many Bahrainis were still left in Egypt.

Medical student Fatima Majeed Al Mishkas, who returned to Bahrain yesterday, said she and her flatmates locked themselves in their apartment as the events unfolded.

"It wasn't comfortable being alone there with no one to protect us in case anything happened," said told the GDN.

"We got calls from the Bahrain Embassy asking us why we had not left on June 30 - we still had our exams coming up, so we couldn't.

"I was scared but we were in our flat with the doors locked, watching TV and seeing things that were happening just 15 minutes away from where we were staying.

"The embassy told us that we should leave and they would take care of any issues we faced with the university and exams."

The Bahraini's father, Majeed, was waiting for her at the airport.

"I have been worried for her for the last two weeks, thinking the worst," he said.

My fears for my daughter were, however, tinged with joy on seeing the Egyptians celebrate."

Bahraini Sayed Faisal was thankful he did not have to worry too much about his 20-year-old daughter Doha, as she was located far away from the trouble hotspots.

"I heard from friends with daughters of their own in Egypt that the embassy had ordered them to leave, which was a little worrying," he said.

"It seemed like most of the action was taking place in different areas but we thought it was time for her to come back."

Doha, who lived in the Manyal district of Cairo, said she feared the removal of Mursi would lead to violence on the streets.

"It was very exciting and I really wanted to join in with the protesters but my dad told me not to," she said.

"After the news that President Mursi was taken away, I was worried that some of the extremist Brotherhood supporters would react badly as they have a reputation, especially when dealing with women.

"It was a little rough the past couple of days as it was impossible to sleep with all the commotion and the chanting, but the worst of it was on Wednesday because the Egyptians were celebrating so loudly."

Many other Bahrainis were told to return home by their universities, including Waleed Al Raece's sister, May.

"She was not contacted by the Bahrain Embassy to leave and in all honesty she is tough and could handle herself But the news that the rest of the GCC had brought back all their students made me feel like there was something about to happen so I bought her the ticket to come back immediately."

Egyptians living in Bahrain were also waiting for their loved ones at the airport, but had a different opinion of the revolution.

"I am waiting for my wife to come back from Egypt and I am really excited to see the pictures and videos she took at Tahrir Square," said Eslam Sayed.

"I am really jealous of her because she was a part of history while I just sat and watched it on TV." ahmed@gdn.com.bh



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