There were plenty of smiles, hugs and laughter at Changi Airport early on Wednesday morning when some 23 Egypt-based Singaporean students reunited with their families shortly after arrival.
The students are mostly undergraduates of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, with a few also studying at Mahaad Buuth, a feeder madrasah to the university. They touched down in Singapore at about 5.45am.
The students were encouraged to return to Singapore by the Singaporean Students Welfare Assembly in Egypt (Perkemas), in consultation with the Singapore embassy there, said an Islamic Religious Council of Singapore spokesman.
They were the first batch of students to come back home following unrest and violence in Egypt's capital Cairo that escalated last week, with more expected to return in the later part of this week.
First-year student Nur Hidayah Mohd Ismail, 23, broke down in tears as she hugged her mother, housewife Madam Jemilal Hassan, 55.
The Islamic jurisprudence student said she was "relieved to be back".
"We were all okay and at a safe distance from the dangerous areas, but we couldn't predict what would happen next," said the first-year student.