The Australian Government has airlifted 255 people utilising two Royal Australian Air Force flights and a Government-supported private charter from Ben Gurion Airport in Israel to Dubai.
The deployment of the two Defence aircraft (a KC-30A and a C-17A Globemaster III), follows the commencement of Australian Government assisted-departure flights from Tel Aviv on 13 October. Including the first flight on October 13, operated by Qantas, more than 400 Australians have now been airlifted from Israel on Government-supported flights.
“Subject to factors including the security environment, the Australian Government is planning additional flights departing from Tel Aviv to Dubai today, for Australians wanting to leave. We encourage Australians wanting to leave to take these opportunities,” the Government said in a statement today.
“In addition, we have secured flights for onward travel to Australia for Australians arriving in Dubai.”
Describing the situation as “highly challenging and rapidly changing”, the Government says it is considering whether further assisted-departure flights are required.
“The safety of Australians impacted by this conflict is paramount for the Australian Government,” said Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles.
“The activation of two Defence aircraft provides critical options for Australia as the conflict in Israel continues to evolve.
“Australian nationals and visa holders who wish to leave Israel should ensure they are registered with DFAT via their crisis portal.”
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Penny Wong said more than 1,200 Australians previously registered had now left Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
“We continue to consider options to assist Australians who want to leave Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” she said.
“We encourage Australians who want to leave to take the first option available, do not wait for a different option.”
Australian Minister for Government Services, Bill Shorten said the National Emergency Call Centre staffed by Services Australia was playing a critical role in the current situation.
“Since the call centre activated at 2am on Thursday until midnight (AEDST), staff answered 1620 calls from people concerned about the situation in Israel and Gaza, seeking support to return home during this distressing time,” Minister Shorten said.
“It’s important they know the Australian Government is ready to provide assistance, and I know the professional social workers and call centre staff at Services Australia will do everything they can to provide that help.”