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Countries evacuate citizens as Israel-Hamas war rages

Foreigners stranded in Israel and Palestine due to ongoing conflict are being repatriated by their respective countries, with evacuation operations in progress or planned for citizens from Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria, Switzerland, Spain, South Korea, Canada, and France.

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JERUSALEM — Thousands of foreigners find themselves stuck in Israel and across the Palestinian territories, where a full-blown war has erupted since Hamas launched its surprise attack on Saturday.

With the violence having already killed thousands on both sides, several countries have launched operations to repatriate their citizens, while others plan to do so in the coming days.

Here is an overview of ongoing and planned evacuations, according to official sources.

Argentina

Argentina, the Latin American country with the largest Jewish population, on Tuesday started evacuating more than 1,200 of its citizens from Israel.

Three air force flights a day will take the 1,246 Argentines who have asked to be evacuated to the Italian capital Rome, Defence Minister Jorge Taiana said.

From there, state-owned airline Aerolineas Argentinas will fly them to Buenos Aires.

Brazil

Brazil’s government plans to mobilise at least six planes in a bid to rapidly repatriate any of its citizens who wish to leave Israel and the Palestinian territories.

It said that about 14,000 Brazilians live in Israel and 6,000 live in the Palestinian territories.

Some had already left on commercial flights, it said.

Nigeria

Nigeria has airlifted more than 300 of its citizens back home after they fled to Jordan from Israel, where they were on a Christian pilgrimage, the Lagos state government said.

The group was travelling from Bethlehem to Nazareth when they heard news of the attack in the south of Israel.

With the war erupting, the group and the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims’ Commission organised for them to travel by road to Jordan and then take a chartered flight to Lagos.

Switzerland

Switzerland’s foreign ministry announced Monday evening that Swiss International Air Lines would send a special flight to Tel Aviv on Tuesday to repatriate the country’s nationals.

Around 28,000 Swiss citizens and their families are officially registered as living in Israel and the Palestinian territories, the ministry said.

Spain

Spain organised a flight from Tel Aviv overnight to Wednesday with 200 people on board, its foreign ministry said.

South Korea

A flight carrying 192 South Korean citizens took off from Tel Aviv and landed at the Incheon International Airport near Seoul early Wednesday, the foreign ministry said.

Another 30 South Korean nationals will be evacuated later in the week by commercial flights, it said, adding that 27 others, who were in Israel on a Christian pilgrimage, will go by road to neighbouring Jordan.

Canada

The Canadian government said it would organise special flights from Tel Aviv later in the week for Canadian nationals, with help from the Canadian military.

France

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced on Tuesday that her ministry’s crisis unit was organising a special Air France flight from Tel Aviv on Thursday to help repatriate any French nationals who have been unable to leave.

— AFP

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