Israel-Hamas war: Air India suspends scheduled flights to Tel Aviv till Oct 18

Air India’s suspension of flights to and from Tel Aviv, the economic hub of Israel, will continue till at least October 18, the private Indian carrier said on October 14.

The decision to extend the suspension of flight services comes amid the escalation of war between Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel, with the later launching a stringent campaign to “wipe off Hamas” in the besieged Gaza Strip.  

Air India, the erstwhile national carrier, operated five flights per week for Tel Aviv. This included a to and fro flight each on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

An official of the airline said it will continue to operate the special chartered flights to bring back Indians stranded in the region, news agency PTI reported.

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India, earlier this week, launched Operation Ajay to bring back the Indian nationals who want to return from Israel amidst the ongoing conflict. Air India has so far operated two flight under the mission.

Air India had first suspended its services to and from Tel Aviv on October 7, hours after Hamas fighters raided several locations in southern Israel. The carrier subsequently announced that the flights will remain suspended till October 14.

Notably, the casualty count in the Israel-Hamas clashes has crossed 3,700. While around 1,200 Israelis have reportedly died, including soldiers and civilians, the Palestinian authorities have pegged the fatality toll at their end to over 1,500. A majority of those killed include civilians in Gaza, they said.

In response to the militant attack by Hamas – described as the deadliest in the past couple of decades – Israel has launched carpet bombings in the Gaza Strip. The country has also snapped the water, electricity and food supplies to the region, which was inhabited by an estimated 2.3 million people before the war broke out.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a statement posted on X following the eruption of violence, said India stood in solidarity with Israel. “Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour,” he had tweeted.

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Updated: 14 Oct 2023, 04:00 PM IST