More Australians, Solomons, Vanuatu, return from Israel

Photo: Australian High Commission, Solomon Islands

About 200 Australians and their family members are back in the country after leaving Israel and arriving on a government-assisted flight.

A Qantas flight landed in Sydney on Wednesday evening with 126 Australian passport holders and their immediate family – another 43 passengers – completing onward travel for those who departed from Tel Aviv in recent days.

The plane also carried 65 citizens of the Solomon Islands and 18 from Vanuatu.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong has warned Australians to leave Israel and take any opportunity possible as the situation remains “highly challenging and rapidly changing”.

Officials say more than 1500 Australians registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs(DFAT) have left Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

About 1200 Australians are in contact with the government and are receiving updates about returning home amid the conflict in the Middle East.

A Qatar Airways flight from Dubai carrying 222 people including 164 Australians landed in Sydney on Tuesday evening.

The government is also working to support Australians to leave the West Bank as it liaises with international partners to arrange transport to Jordan.

The safety of the 46 Australians in Gaza remains unknown after a barrage of Israeli missiles hit the territory, strikes Israeli authorities say are in response to Hamas attacks from the territory that killed 1400 people on October 7.

Hundreds were also killed in a Gaza hospital blast, which Hamas has blamed on Israel.

Israel countered that it was caused by a rocket misfire from Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad. Israel’s blockade of water, food and fuel is also making the situation in Gaza dire as hospitals warn of a worsening humanitarian crisis when emergency generators run out of fuel and cut electricity.

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