Second batch of Indian nationals flies out of conflict-ridden Israel

Jerusalem: The second batch of 235 Indian nationals, including two infants, wishing to leave Israel were safely evacuated on Friday, a day after 212 Indians were flown out amid the country’s raging conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

India launched ‘Operation Ajay’ on Thursday to facilitate the return of those who wish to return home following the brazen attacks on Israeli towns by Hamas militants from Gaza on October 7, triggering fresh tension in the volatile region.

The second batch of 235 Indian nationals were safely evacuated on Friday, informed sources told PTI.

The flight took off at 11.02 pm local time.

The evacuation of Indian nationals will continue tomorrow as well, they said.

“The Embassy has emailed the next lot of registered Indian citizens for the special flight today. Messages to other registered people will follow for subsequent flights,” the Indian Embassy posted the announcement on X.

A researcher at Bar-Ilan University, Safed has thanked the Indian government for ‘Operation Ajay’.

“I really want to thank the Government of India for evacuating us from the war situation in Israel… Our government has evacuated us from such a situation under ‘Operation Ajay’,” Suryakant Tiwari, PhD student at Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, Bar-Ilan University, Safed told PTI.

The first charter flight to facilitate the return of Indian citizens from Israel left late Thursday evening from the Ben Gurion airport carrying 211 adults and an infant living in the war-battered region and reached the Indian capital on Friday morning.

The passengers were 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.

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

The evacuation of Indian nationals was necessitated after armed Hamas militants based in the Gaza Strip blasted through the Israeli security fence and streamed into Israel by land, air and sea on Saturday, in what is now described as an unprecedented attack.

Since then, the attack has killed more than 1,300 people in Israel while the Israeli counter-airstrikes have killed more than 1,530 people in Gaza. Israel has claimed roughly 1,500 Hamas militants were killed inside Israel.