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WORLD | 10-10-2023 17:52

Government begins repatriation of Argentine citizens from Israel

Argentina begins repatriation of citizens from Israel; More than 1,200 citizens to be evacuated in wake of Hamas’ attack in 'Operation Safe Return.'

Argentina's government has began the repatriation of more than 1,200 of its citizens in Israel on Tuesday with the dispatch of the first Army plane to Tel Aviv.

"We are going to have three flights a day to evacuate Argentines who are on a list" received by the Foreign Ministry with 1,246 requests in total, explained Defence Minister Jorge Taiana.

The Hercules C-130 military aircraft being used in Operation "Safe Rescue" can transport more than 200 Argentines a day. Those being evacuated will be taken from Tel Aviv to Rome, Italy, where Boeing 737s will also be used to support the operation.

Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero confirmed Monday that talks were underway between his portfolio, the Defence Ministry and Pablo Ceriani, the president of state airline Aerolineas Argentinas.

Military aircraft departed on Tuesday at 10am from El Palomar airport with the intention of transporting citizens from Tel Aviv to Rome so that they could board a special Aerolíneas Argentinas flight and return to the country.

“By indication of the Defence Minister, Jorge Taiana, the chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Juan Martín Paleo, ordered the Operational Commander of the Armed Forces, Brigade General, Jorge Berredo, to commence a Civil Protection Evacuation Operation for people stranded while in transit in Israel,” Argentina’s government said in a statement.

“Boarding in Israel will be left in charge of the Defence Attaché Office of the Argentine Embassy there together with the respective Embassy. The Defence Attaché Office in Italy, alongside the Argentine diplomatic office, will operate an intermediate rest area to complete the journey to this country from Italy with commercial Aerolíneas Argentinas flights,” the Armed Forces said in statement.

Since the offensive by the Islamist group Hamas, the Argentine government has confirmed that seven of its citizens have been killed and another 15 remain missing in Israel.

"It is difficult to get information because the Israeli government was primarily focused on saving lives," explained Cafiero.

The South American country has diplomatic relations with both Israel and Palestine "because Argentina has always been part of the search for a peaceful solution" to the conflict, Cafiero concluded.

Cafiero also specified that Argentina is against “any use of violence” and stated that President Alberto Fernández gave the instructions to qualify the situation as a “terrorist attack."

“We condemn it as we do Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they want to spread terror via civilian targets, they only want to deepen it and a policy of hatred,” the minister stated.

“We always call for dialogue for both countries to put aside their differences with words rather than violence," he added.

 

– TIMES/AFP/NA

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