SAFWAN, IRAQ — The US began airlifting Iraqi refugees to Saudi Arabia April 28 as nearly 400 Iraqis boarded flights to sanctuary offered by their Gulf war foe. Thousands more packed up to follow them - spurred by fear of falling into Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's hands when US troops go home.
US officers said they expected to step up the airlift to carry up to 1,500 people a day.
But there are strings attached to the Saudi offer. Iraqis who take a US military flight to a camp the kingdom is building at Rafha on the Saudi-Iraqi border cannot expect to leave the closed area - except someday to go home.