Indian embassy officials have met Indian students and allayed their concerns
The first flight bringing Indians stranded amid the Israel-Hamas war will take off from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv tonight. Many of those who have registered with the Indian embassy to be flown back include Indian students at Israel institutions.
The students have now received a mail, informing them that the Ministry of External Affairs would run a chartered flight from Tel Aviv to Delhi. This flight will take off from Ben Gurion airport around 9 pm Israel time today - India is two-and-a-half hours ahead of Israel. About 230 Indians will board tonight's flight, news agency PTI has reported. Those returning to India will not be required to pay any fare and the government is bearing the cost of their return.
The mail to Indian students asks them to fill up a Google form, following which they would receive a confirmation message. The mail specifies that only one checked-in luggage - weighing not more than 23 kg - and one cabin luggage will be allowed.
As fighting in the Gaza region intensifies and death count nears 4,000, New Delhi has launched Operation Ajay to airlift Indian citizens.
"Launching #OperationAjay to facilitate the return from Israel of our citizens who wish to return. Special charter flights and other arrangements being put in place. Fully committed to the safety and well-being of our nationals abroad," External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar tweeted yesterday.
The Indian Embassy in Israel has started round-the-clock helplines for people stranded amid the war. The embassy has asked people to stay calm and follow security advisories being issued from time to time.
The embassy yesterday tweeted that it has informed the first lot of Indians to fly home. Others who have registered for the flights will be contacted soon, it has assured.
Earlier, representatives of the embassy met Indian students and allayed their concerns on the situation in the region.
Earlier, India's Ambassador to Israel Sanjeev Singla said the embassy is working constantly for Indians' safety and welfare. "All of us are going through very difficult times but please do remain calm and vigilant and follow the local security guidelines," he said in a video message posted on X.
About 4,000 people have been killed in Hamas' surprise attack on Israel and the brutal retaliation that has followed.
Shortly after the attacks, Air India suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv till October 14.