Egypt has imposed visa restrictions on Libyans, the foreign ministry announced, in a move that will block Libyans trying to escape the conflict from entering the country.

“All Libyans wishing to enter Egypt must first obtain a visa from any Egyptian embassy,” the ministry told the official MENA news agency.

It said the move was in response to similar measures imposed by Tripoli two years ago.

Officials at air, land and sea ports began implementing the directive immediately.

Protests that broke out in Libya on February 15 have escalated into a violent conflict that has claimed hundreds of lives and driven many to flee into neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia.