Chartered flight to bring back around 230 people from Israel by Friday: MEA

New Delhi, Oct 12: A charter flight is expected to reach Israel’s capital city Tel Aviv by this evening and return to India with around 230 passengers on board by Friday morning, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said today.

“As announced by EAM yesterday, Operation Ajay has been launched to facilitate the return from Israel of our citizens who wish to come back. The first charter flight will be reaching Tel Aviv later tonight to pick up the Indian citizens and is likely to return to India tomorrow morning,” the external affairs ministry spokesperson said while addressing a media briefing here today. “We are keeping a close watch on the situation in Israel,” Bagchi said. The MEA spokesperson also said that there were no Indian casualties so far. “We haven’t heard of any casualty so far,” he said.

“Around 18,000 Indians are in Israel. There is conflict going on and it is a matter of concern. Indians advised to follow advisories issued by our mission,” Bagchi said. “Operation Ajay” was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring back around 18,000 Indians in Israel who wanted amidst the war between Hamas and Israel. Registration of Indians began on Thursday. The Indian embassy in Israel is providing assistance to Indian companies and has set up a helpline for Indian citizens in need of assistance.
“A charter flight will reach Tel Aviv today later in the evening. It is expected to get 230 passengers onboard. We have all options, but the role of IAF (in evacuation) can’t be ruled out: the MEA spokesperson said on ‘Operation Ajay.’

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Yesterday, the MEA had set up a 24-hour control room in view of the escalating conflict. The control room will help monitor the situation and provide information and assistance.

Earlier today, the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar chaired a meeting to review preparations for “Operation Ajay”. Meanwhile, Israeli Defence Forces said that Hamas brought ISIS flags to Israel when they had infiltrated various parts of South Israel last weekend. In a post shared on X, Israeli Defence Forces stated, “Hamas brought ISIS flags to massacre Israeli children, women and men. Hamas is a genocidal terrorist organization. Hamas is worse than ISIS.”

The death toll in Israel since the Hamas attack on October 7 has jumped to 1,300 and some 3300 have been injured, including 28 in critical condition and 350 in serious condition, The Times of Israel reported citing Hebrew media reports. The fate of an estimated 150 people abducted and taken to the Gaza Strip during the attack by Hamas is still unclear, the report said. Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the military has so far notified families of 97 hostages who were being held by terrorists in the Gaza Strip, The Times of Israel reported. (ANI)

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