More than 200 Israelis and Ethiopian Jews were rescued from northern Ethiopia on Thursday afternoon amid ongoing violence, the Prime Minister’s Office and Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem announced in a joint statement.
A total of 174 Israeli citizens and Jews eligible for aliyah visas were evacuated from the besieged city of Gondar, while 30 others were rescued from the city of Bahir Dar, the statement noted.
“In the last few days, citizens of Israel and [persons] entitled to make aliyah from Ethiopia entered into distress in the battle zones. I ordered them to be taken out of there,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The State of Israel takes care of its citizens wherever they are.
“The people are now on their way from Gondar and Bahir Dar to Addis Ababa, and from there they will come to the State of Israel. We will receive them here with warmth and welcome,” the premier added.
The Prime Minister’s Office organized the rescue flights in collaboration with the Jewish Agency for Israel. Jewish Agency chairman Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog praised all those involved in Thursday’s “courageous operation.
“Now our staff will support and embrace the rescued individuals with care and sensitivity,” said Almog. “We won’t break our promise; we won’t abandon in the field any Jew who needs our help.”
On Monday morning, three Israelis and seven foreign nationals in the town of Debarq, north of Gondar, were already transported out of danger, Walla News reported.
The Israelis and foreign nationals were rescued by Magnus International Search and Rescue and PassportCard, in coordination with local officials, Israeli diplomats in Addis Ababa and the Foreign Ministry.
Officials were discussing the possibility of sending in an armed convoy for a 14-hour rescue mission in coordination with the Ethiopian military and the rival militia, local media claimed earlier this week.