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Operation Ajay: Two flights for evacuation of Indian nationals from war-torn Israel to depart today

Under 'Operation Ajay', India has successfully evacuated 447 Indian nationals from war-torn Israel in the last two days as the war with Hamas escalated. A special flight carrying 235 Indian nationals landed in the national capital's Indira Gandhi International Airport on Saturday.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Tel Aviv Published on: October 14, 2023 17:41 IST
Over 200 Indian nationals aboard a flight under 'Operation
Image Source : MEAINDIA/X Over 200 Indian nationals aboard a flight under 'Operation Ajay' arrived in New Delhi on Saturday.

The Indian embassy in Israel's Tel Aviv announced two more special flights to evacuate Indian nationals from the war-torn country on Saturday, after successfully repatriating more than 400 Indians in the last two days.

The flights are part of India's 'Operation Ajay' launched on Thursday to facilitate the return of those Indian nationals who wish to return home following the unprecedented attack on Israeli towns by Hamas militants last Saturday. 

Taking to X, the Indian Embassy in Tel Aviv said, "The Embassy has emailed the next lot of registered Indian citizens for two special flights today. Messages to other registered people will follow for subsequent flights."

Flights under Operation Ajay

The first flight is expected to leave at 5:00 pm (local time) to carry 230 passengers, followed by another flight at 11:00 pm (local time) that will facilitate the return of 330 passengers. Earlier on Saturday, a second flight carrying 235 Indian nationals arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

The evacuated Indian nationals were welcomed by Union Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs, Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, at the airport. He welcomed Indian nationals with a handshake and folded hands. A total of 447 Indians have now been repatriated from Israel to India in the last two days.

The passengers were mainly those who were staying and working in Israel. They applauded the government of India for the initiative and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The Embassy has been working round the clock to facilitate all our citizens in Israel who wish to leave. We have reached out to students, caregivers, and business people. Some of them are actually working with us as volunteers. We urge everyone to remain calm,"  India's Ambassador to Israel, Sanjeev Singla, told news agency PTI.

The passengers are chosen on a “first come first serve” basis after a drive launched by the Indian embassy for all Indians to register at the mission's database. The government is bearing the cost of their return. The first flight had arrived at the national capital carrying 211 adults and an infant from Israel.

There are about 18,000 Indian nationals living and working in Israel including caregivers, students, several IT professionals, and diamond traders.

India issues advisory

The Indian Embassy in Israel issued an advisory on Wednesday, wherein it urged Indian nationals living in the war-torn nation "to register themselves with the Embassy of India, Tel Aviv and Israel". In a video message, the Indian Ambassador to Israel, Sanjeev Singla, assured desperate people to stay calm and follow the guidelines issued by the local authorities and contact the emergency numbers of the embassy in case of trouble.

"Registration with the Embassy will facilitate any measures that need to be taken in a situation of emergency or if such a need arises. It will also facilitate information availability about various events through our emailing network," according to the statement released on Wednesday.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is currently on a visit to Sri Lanka, in a social media post, announced bringing back the Indians into the conflict zone and added special charter flights and other arrangements were being put in place.

The week-long war has already claimed over 3,500 lives on both sides and sent tensions soaring across the region. The death toll from Israeli strikes on Gaza rose to 2,215 people have been killed in the territory, including 724 children and 458 women, the Palestinian health ministry said. On the other hand, over 1,300 people have died in Israel from the Hamas attack since last week.

(with agency inputs)

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