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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
In pictures: Lebanon evacuation

Embassy official and evacuee

As the crisis in the Middle East deepens, 180 Britons have been the first UK nationals to be rescued by sea. So far, 5,000 Britons are expected to be removed in the coming days.

Evacuees boarding HMS Gloucester

In the biggest British evacuation since World War II, young children and their parents were the first to be taken by warship HMS Gloucester.

Women saying goodbye to each other in Beirut

In total, there are 22,000 British nationals - including those with dual nationality - in Lebanon. During the recent Middle East crisis, at least 270 Lebanese people have died.

Young girl waiting to be evacuated from Beirut

The first sea evacuation was a trial run, say officials. On Wednesday, another 800 Britons are due to leave Beirut.

Sailor with child

HMS Gloucester's crew are well-trained for the mission. Its captain Commander Mike Paterson says such an operation is the crew's 'bread and butter'.

Sailor carrying young passenger off ship

Evacuees are in good spirits after leaving Beirut, says Commander Mike Paterson.

Passengers disembarking at Limassol, Cyprus

A chartered flight to take the evacuees to the UK will leave from the British base of Akrotiri in Cyprus

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