Cairo- Egypt (PANA) -- Iraqi refugees currently residing in Egypt have started their return journey home, after the Iraqi government offered them a free trip from Cairo.
Many of the refugees had fled Iraq after the American-led invasion of their country in 2003, and have remained in Egypt as the security situation in the country worsened with sectarian violence.
With improving security back home and their finances running dry in Egypt, however, the refugees are keen to take advantage of the free return offer.
The United Nations refugee agency in Cairo said earlier this year that the funds which the refugees came to Egypt with were running dry.
"It is a sad situation for many refugees who are running low on money and don't have any choice but to return home," said Abeer Etafa, spokeswoman for the UNHCR office in Cairo.
Iraq's charge d'affaires in Egypt, Saad Mohamed Reda, said another free flight would take off later this week and return another batch of 250 Iraqis home.
He said that more flights would be organised according to the number of Iraqis wanting to return home.
The UNHCR estimates the number of Iraqi refugees across the region at approximately two million.
The number in Egypt is not immediately available.