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Reporters Held, Beaten in Egypt

A protester hiding behind a Cairo sign from other protesters Wednesday. Sebastian Scheiner

A Russian television crew covering the unrest in Egypt was arrested by local law enforcement agencies, and at least one journalist was assaulted by angry protesters, news reports said Wednesday.

Reporter Arkady Nazarenko and cameraman Algis Mikulskis, who work for the Defense Ministry-controlled television channel Zvezda, were detained late Tuesday at a roadblock in Cairo, the channel's head, Vladimir Zhelonkin, told Interfax.

It remained unclear why they were arrested or which agency carried out the detention.

Vesti-24 television said several of its crews in Cairo faced attacks, one of which saw unidentified men punching reporter Sergei Pashkov and destroying his camera. Pashkov was protected by a group of passers-by.

Meanwhile, Aeroflot has stopped selling tickets for flights to the Egyptian resorts of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh and will suspend flights to the two cities starting Sunday, the airline said in a statement. Another major carrier, Transaero, stopped selling tickets to the Egyptian resorts on Tuesday.

The decision was made on the recommendation of the Russian Foreign Ministry, which is seeking to stop the inflow of Russian tourists to Egypt, which is continuing despite rallies by hundreds of thousands of people to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

Reports said Tuesday that there may be up to 75,000 Russians in Egypt, with only a tenth of them looking to leave.

A special plane bound for Cairo departed Wednesday from Bashkortostan's capital, Ufa, to evacuate some 200 Russian students stranded there, Interfax reported.

More than 300 people have died in the anti-government protests, and new clashes between opposition activists and Mubarak's supporters flared in Cairo on Wednesday, Interfax said.

The 82-year-old Mubarak said Tuesday that he would not seek re-election after his term expires in September, but the promise has not quelled the protests.

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