A U.S. military plane flew more than 20 Libyans wounded in the country's eight-month civil war to the United States for treatment on Saturday.
Thousands have been wounded in the fight to topple Moammar Gadhafi, and Libya's new leaders say caring for them is a critical need.
Some two dozen people boarded the U.S. aircraft at an airport in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Two men had their arms in a sling while another walked unaided but with crutches. Several men smiled broadly at the cameras and flashed a victory sign.
The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Gene Kretz, says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton initiated the evacuation after visiting a Tripoli hospital last week.
A press release from the Temporary Financing Mechanism, an internationally-established fund used by Libya's transitional government, said that a total of 24 seriously wounded patients would be treated in the United States and six more critical cases would be sent to Germany.
The TFM said that it would pay the hospital bills for over 3000 patients across Tunisia, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Jordan and the United States.