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Countries begin to organise flights to evacuate citizens from Israel

October 11, 2023 3:43 PM IST

Israel-Palestine war | Australia to evacuate citizens from Israel | Hamas | Israel war

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday, October 11 said that Australia has organised two special flights to bring back citizens from Israel.

According to the Australian PM, the first flight will leave on Friday, the second on Sunday, and will travel from Ben Gurion airport to London.

“We are assessing all options to get Australians home as soon as possible who wish to travel back here,” said Albanese at a news conference. Albanese said the large number of Australians who live or travel to Israel made it difficult to know exactly how many citizens were in the country.

Similarly, Germany is also set to evacuate citizens from Israel on Thursday and Friday, the country’s Foreign Office announced Tuesday, October 10.

German airline Lufthansa will operate several special flights from Israel at the request of the Foreign Office. Citizens registered with the German crisis prevention list “ELEFAND“ will be informed Thursday morning about how to book tickets for the special flights with Lufthansa, the Foreign Office said.

The Danish government on Wednesday said that it will offer to evacuate its citizens as well as holders of permanent residency in Denmark from Israel and Palestinian territories following the attack by Hamas.

Around 1,200 Danes are currently believed to be in Israel and another 90 in Palestinian territories, the Danish foreign ministry said in a statement. Planes will be sent to the region and the evacuation will start in the coming days, it added.

Further, Fiji’s Defence Minister said a Fiji Airways flight had left Tel Aviv with almost 200 Fijian religious pilgrims, plus citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States on board.

The flight will arrive in Nadi, Fiji, on Thursday, Defence Minister Pio Tikoduadua told reporters in Suva, and praised the aircrew “who chose to fly into a nation at war”.

Fiji Airways flew into Tel Aviv for the first time a fortnight ago, carrying a large group of Christian pilgrims, as the Pacific Islands nation sought to build closer ties with Israel after it pledged to open an embassy next year.

Several international airlines have suspended flight services to Tel Aviv after the surprise attack by Hamas militants on Israel over the weekend and continued fighting, impacting hundreds of flights.

Fiji Airways special flight 2394 landed in Ben Gurion airport on Tuesday “on a mission to bring Fijians home”, and had safely departed, Tikoduadua said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Also on the flight were international travellers including 13 Australians, 16 New Zealanders, 8 Samoans, as well as several Americans, Canadians and Filippinos, he said.

The minister also said that no decision had been made on where to locate Fiji’s mission in Israel, in comments that appeared to back away from a pledge by deputy prime minister Bill Gavoka that an embassy would be opened in Jerusalem.

“It is still in the planning process in terms of where it will be and how long it will take to be established. Obviously with the situation now, there will be some concerns about how to do it safely,” Tikoduadua said.

India is also India is preparing plans to evacuate its citizens stranded in Israel as PM Narendra Modi issued a statement supporting Tel Aviv and condemning “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”.

Meanwhile, the Nepali students in Israel have been shifted to safe places. The Defence Ministry of Nepal informed the media on Tuesday about the safety of its students in Israel. A day earlier the Defence Ministry informed about the death of ten students and injuries to four others in the attack by Hamas.

The students in Tel Aviv and Ashkelon, who were hiding in bunkers, were shifted to safe places. Some of the students informed their families about their safety on Facebook and also shared videos.

Meanwhile, on October 9, major international air carriers suspended or scaled back flights to or from Tel Aviv, while Russia banned night flights to Israel, after a surprise attack by Hamas militants over the weekend and a threat of escalating conflict raised safety concerns.

About 50% of scheduled Tel Aviv flights did not operate on Sunday and a third were cancelled on Monday as of Monday evening in Israel, according to Flightradar24, a flight tracking website.

U.S. air carriers United Airlines UAL.O and American Airlines AAL.O suspended direct flights to Israel after the Federal Aviation Administration urged airlines to exercise caution. Delta Air Lines DAL.N said on Monday it would cancel flights to and from Israel until the end of the month.

Many European airlines have also cancelled flights.

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Last updated on: 13th June 2024