On Thursday, India initiated 'Operation Ajay' to evacuate its citizens from the war-affected regions of Israel. This operation aims to bring back Indian nationals stranded in Israel amidst the ongoing conflict with Hamas. The eighth day of the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas was marked on October 14. All Indian airlines suspended commercial flights to and from Israel as the war began on October 7. Under ‘Operation Ajay’, specially chartered flights are being organized to repatriate Indian citizens from Israel. On Friday morning, the first charter flight to bring Indian nationals stranded in Israel due to the ongoing conflict arrived in New Delhi. Under "Operation Ajay," an airplane, which was carrying 212 Indians, departed from Israel's Ben Gurion airport on Thursday night. The passengers were reportedly selected on a "first come, first serve" basis. On Saturday morning, the second charter flight intended to repatriate Indian citizens stranded in Israel due to the current war landed in New Delhi. This flight brought back 235 Indian nationals, including two newborns.
With 197 people on board, including 18 Malayalis, the fourth flight of "Operation Ajay," a rescue attempt to bring in Indians trapped in Israel, has landed at New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport. This was the fourth flight to leave Israel since the beginning of "Operation Ajay," and the second flight in a single day. Prior to this, a flight carrying the third batch of 197 Indian nationals departed at approximately 5:40 p.m. IST.
According to the Indian government, Indian Navy ships will also be deployed in case of emergencies. The Ministry of External Affairs in the National Capital has established a control room and issued helpline numbers. The control room is available by phone at 1800118797 (toll-free), +91-11 23012113, +91-11 23014104, +91-11 23017905, or via email at [email protected]. Additionally, the 24-hour emergency helplines of the Indian embassy can be reached at +972-35226748 and +972-543278392, as well as via email at [email protected].
In the wake of the Hamas bombings that resulted in the deaths of 1,200 Israelis and a few dozen foreigners over the weekend, numerous nations, notably Hungary, Poland, Italy, and Mexico, have chartered special planes to evacuate their citizens from Israel.
No casualties have been reported among the 18,000 Indian citizens who reside in Israel. Among them are caregivers, diamond dealers, IT specialists, and approximately 900 Indian students.
In the northern Gaza Strip, over a million residents have been instructed to relocate to the south, causing widespread panic. The UN estimates that thousands of people in Gaza headed south after Israel issued a 24-hour notice to Palestinians to evacuate. Earlier, the UN reported that the fighting had caused the internal displacement of more than 400,000 Palestinians. Earlier, "in response to the displacement and targeting of civilians," Hamas launched a large number of missiles at the Israeli city of Ashkelon. Earlier today, as it gathered tanks in preparation for an anticipated ground invasion in response to a deadly onslaught by the Islamist group Hamas, Israel's military demanded that all residents in Gaza City—more than 1 million people—move south within 24 hours.
Civilians should only return to Gaza City if directed by the Israeli military, which has stated its intention to conduct "significant" operations in the coming days. Families in Gaza were forced to choose between departing and staying, with no apparent safe refuge, after Hamas instructed them to disregard the evacuation order.
Over the last week, Israeli attacks have completely destroyed entire communities, increasing Gaza's misery. Furthermore, Gaza is cut off from critical supplies including food, water, and medical aid, and it is experiencing a near-total power outage.
Editorial: Sally (ANH) Ngo,
October 15, 2023
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