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Indian nationals in Israel, Gaza faced no untoward incidents amid war: Report

Some Indians have contacted the embassy in Tel Aviv to facilitate their exit as the situation worsened in Israel. Embassies in both countries have issued advisories in wake of the war.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Tel Aviv Updated on: October 08, 2023 19:34 IST
Hamas fired a barrage of rockets on Israel in a new
Image Source : AP Hamas fired a barrage of rockets on Israel in a new offensive on Saturday.

There have been no untoward incidents involving Indian nationals who are living and working in Israel as well as Gaza amid escalating tensions following an unprecedented attack from the Hamas group on Saturday that plunged the nation into chaos.

There are around 18,000 Indian nationals living and working in Israel and no untoward incidents have been reported involving them, sources told news agency PTI. Meanwhile, the Indian embassy in Tel Aviv has received Indian tourists who are stranded in the country amid the chaos to facilitate their exit.

The Indian embassy in Israel and the Representative Office of India in Palestine have issued advisories asking Indian nationals to remain vigilant and contact the offices directly in an emergency case. 

"In view of the current situation in Israel, all Indian nationals in Israel are requested to remain vigilant and observe safety protocols as advised by local authorities. Please exercise caution, avoid unnecessary movement and stay close to safety shelters," read the advisory. Embassy sources told PTI that they are readily available to all Indian nationals around the clock and have been proactively guiding them.

Notably, Bollywood actress Nushrratt Bharuccha has finally returned to Mumbai, after she was stranded for several hours in Israel. She was in Israel to attend the Haifa film festival when the country was attacked by Hamas.

Indian students in Israel

Israel houses a thousand Indian students, IT professionals and diamond traders, who have undoubtedly been affected as the security situation worsened following a surprise attack by Hamas.

Bindu, a student at Hebrew University, told PTI that she followed the embassy's advisory and that all Indian students are in touch with each other and taking stock of the situation. Other students said that the situation is coming under control and "we should not spread panic unnecessarily".

"There is a tense situation in Israel because of the attack, but all the Indian students are safe.Most of the students are staying in dorms and accommodations provided by the institutions. We are in contact with each other as well as the Indian embassy through WhatsApp," said Vikas Sharma, a postdoctoral fellow of the Hebrew University.

An Indian national at Gaza told the news agency that the situation there was "scary" but she and her family were safe. "There is no internet connection and electricity. The situation is scary but we are fine," she said.

Israel Ambassador on Indian nationals

During a press briefing, Israeli Ambassador to India Naor Gilon said that information on the number of Indian nationals affected by the recent violence in Israel is yet to be obtained.

"We don't know of Indian foreign nationals so far, we didn't get any information of such. There are more than 1800 wounded...The terrorists are going to pay a very big price. We will do it at our pace, in our choosing, the way we want it...," he said.

He also said that Israel needs the support of India as it is a "very influential country" in the world. "India comes from the position of a country who knows terrorism. So it comes from a point of knowledge and not of ignorance. And for that, we are very much thankful. And again, Israel needs only the moral and political support, the work on the ground we know how to do it, but we need to have the ability to execute the plan in order to make sure that Hamas will not threaten anyone else again," he told news agency ANI.

Situation in Israel

Israeli soldiers battled Hamas fighters in the streets of southern Israel on Sunday and launched retaliation strikes that leveled buildings in Gaza, after the militant group launched a barrage of rockets and initiated a major infiltration drive that has killed hundreds of people.

According to Israeli media, at least 600 people were killed in Israel, including 44 soldiers, while officials in Gaza said 313 people had died in the territory. IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said that over 400 militants have been killed inside Gaza. Hamas militants also took captives including women, children and the elderly back to Gaza, and are likely to trade for thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Hundreds have been killed on both sides.

The leader of Hamas' military wing Mohammed Deif earlier said that the armed group has launched a new military operation titled 'Operation Al-Aqsa Storm' against Israel. "We've decided to say enough is enough," he said in a rare statement. He claimed that around 5,000 rockets were launched by the group toward Israel. Soon after, Israel launched operation 'Iron Swords' to retaliate against the group.

Hamas said that overnight it had continued to send forces and equipment into “a number of locations inside our occupied territories,” referring to Israel. Thousands of people from both sides have been injured as Israeli military forces continue to battle Hamas attackers. 

(with agency inputs)

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