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Mom and son escape Egypt, reunite with Bay area family

12:55 AM, Feb 7, 2011   |    comments
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Fatima Badawi and her 10-year-old son, Mohammad, reunited with their family at TIA after escaping the unrest in Egypt.
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TAMPA, FLORIDA-- For Fatima Badawi and her 10-year-old son, Mohammad, stepping off a plane at Tampa International Airport Sunday night brought an end to what seemed like the longest week of their lives.

Both American citizens living in Egypt, the pair reunited with her parents and brother, who all live in Tampa.

Since last weekend, they've tried to get out of Cairo.

From their 11th story apartment, they had what turned into a front row seat to all the political unrest.

"We saw a lot of things in the streets where I told the guy, 'Don't let my son see this.' It's a bad scene," Batawi described.

"Sometimes some people tried to come attack us," her son said.

Badawi says her son's expired passport is a big reason they couldn't get out sooner.

They say reaching the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for help was like going right through a battlefield, because it's located very close to the violent protests.

All of that uncertainty led to many tear-filled phone calls to their Bay area family.

"You could hear the bombings and live ammunition in the background," said her brother, Sam Badawi.

The Badawi's say they might not have made it back into the country without the help of Congresswoman Kathy Castor.

Castor worked all week with the embassy and U.S. State Department to get the situation corrected.

"I am very happy and relieved that the family has made it safely to the United States," Rep. Castor told 10 News Sunday night.

Badawi says being back on U.S. soil has never felt better.

"This country is the best.  God bless America," she said.

One part of their story is bittersweet, however.

Badawi's Egyptian husband remains there taking care of, and protecting, his parents.

At this point, they're not sure when they will all be reunited.

Adam Freeman, 10 News

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