Operation Ajay: Fourth flight carrying 274 Indians from Israel lands in Delhi
The special flights are part of the operation launched on October 12 to facilitate the return of Indian nationals who wish to return home following the attacks on Israeli towns by Hamas militants on October 7
A special flight carrying 274 Indian nationals wanting to leave Israel amidst the Israel-Hamas conflict reached Delhi airport on Sunday (October 15) morning.
The flight, the second in a day and fourth since the launch of 'Operation Ajay', had left on Saturday (October 14).
The special flights are part of the operation launched on October 12 to facilitate the return of those Indian nationals who wish to return home following the brazen attacks on Israeli towns by Hamas militants from Gaza on October 7. The Indian Embassy in Tel Aviv earlier announced that two special flights will operate from Ben Gurion airport on Saturday.
The first flight left around 5.40 pm local time. The second flight with 274 Indian nationals took off at 11.45 pm local time. The third batch of 197 Indian nationals left for home around 5.40 pm local time (8.10 pm IST).
“#OperationAjay moves forward. 197 more passengers are coming back to India," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar posted on X.
The Embassy of India in Israel posted on X,"As part of #OperationAjay, Indian nationals still in Israel and wishing to travel back to India are urgently requested to complete the attached travel form."
The Indian Embassy also issued guidelines that "travel slots will be allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis in the 'Operation Ajay' and "In the event of a no-show or refusal to travel after confirmation and slotting, your name will be moved to the back of the queue." "The Embassy has been working round the clock to facilitate all our citizens in Israel who wish to leave. We have reached out to students, caregivers, and business people. Some of them are actually working with us as volunteers. We urge everyone to remain calm," Ambassador Sanjeev Singla told PTI.
“The Embassy has emailed the next lot of registered Indian citizens for two special flights today. Messages to other registered people will follow for subsequent flights," the Indian Embassy in Israel posted the announcement on X earlier in the day.
The passengers are 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. The first charter flight from Israel carried 212 people on Thursday. The second batch of 235 Indian nationals was flown back late on Friday. So far, a total of 918 Indian nationals have been flown out of Israel.
There are about 18,000 Indian nationals living and working in Israel including caregivers, students, several IT professionals, and diamond traders. The voluntary departure of Indian nationals was necessitated after armed Hamas militants based in the Gaza Strip launched an unprecedented attack on Israel by land, air, and sea on October 7. Since then, the attack has killed more than 1,300 people in Israel while the Israeli counter-airstrikes have killed at least 1,900 people in Gaza.
On Saturday, the Israeli military said that it has prepared a "coordinated" offensive in the Gaza Strip involving air, ground and naval forces.
(With inputs from agencies)