Woke up to sound of sirens, Indian evacuees from Israel recount horror

By- Editor Banibrata Datta
Fantacy Tv News Agency

The first batch of over 200 Indians returned from Israel on Friday with the sound of air raid sirens, rocket fire and screams ringing loud in their ears.

Israel witnessed a surprise and unprecedented attack by Hamas in its southern parts on Saturday morning. At least 700 people have been killed and more than 2,100 injured in Israel- the deadliest day for the country in at least 50 years.

“We woke up to sounds of air raid sirens. We stay in central Israel and I don’t know what shape this conflict will take,” said Shashwat Singh soon after landing at Delhi airport along with his wife.

The post-doctoral researcher in agriculture, who has been staying in Israel since 2019, said the sound of those sirens and the nightmarish experience of the past few days still haunt him.

The evacuation of Indians is a “praiseworthy step”, Singh said soon after the flight landed. “We hope peace will be restored and we will return to work… The Indian government got in touch with us via email. We are thankful to Prime Minister Modi and the Indian Embassy in Israel.”

India has launched Operation Ajay to facilitate the return of those who wish to come back home as a series of brazen attacks on Israeli towns by Hamas militants over the weekend triggered fresh tension in the region.

Many students who returned home recalled the fateful night of Saturday and how they had to rush to shelters multiple times in the wake of rocket attacks by Hamas.

Suparno Ghosh, a West Bengal native and a first-year PhD student of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev at Beersheba in Israel, was also among the group of Indians who reached Delhi on the special flight.

“We could not know what happened. On Saturday, some rockets were launched. But, we were safe in shelters… the good thing is that the Israeli government has made shelters everywhere, so we were safe,” he said.

Several women students also recounted the grim situation they faced when the attacks happened. “It was a panic situation. We are not citizens there, we are just students. So, for us whenever the sirens go on, it’s a panic situation for us,” Jaipur native Mini Sharma told FTFMI.

The Israeli casualties surged past 1,300, while Gaza authorities have reported the deaths of over 1,500 Palestinians as the Israel-Hamas war entered its sixth day on Friday. The total death toll currently stands at around 2,800. Operation Ajay’s charter flight brought 212 Indian nationals safely back from conflict-ridden Israel on Friday morning.

As the Israel-Hamas conflict continues to intensify, the Israeli military mobilized tanks near the Gaza Strip, signaling preparations for a planned ground invasion to strike the Palestinian militant Hamas group that currently governs the enclave. “Now is the time for war,” the military leadership said.

The Foreign Ministry and the National Security Council released a joint statement on Thursday evening, advising all Israelis abroad to stay cautious on Friday after the Hamas terror group’s call for a “Day of Rage”. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is also scheduled to visit Israel on Friday, where he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, the European Commission announced it has launched an investigation into Elon Musk’s social media platform X, formerly Twitter to ascertain whether the platform facilitated the dissemination of disinformation concerning the Middle East conflict. On Thursday, the Israeli government presented graphic images to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO defense ministers portraying children and civilians reportedly killed by Hamas during a devastating attack in Israel over the weekend.

Check developments from yesterday here.

Amid these developments, the stance of Hezbollah, a group backed by Iran akin to Hamas, remains uncertain regarding its involvement in the ongoing hostilities between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s Islamic militant rulers.

Israel-Hamas War: Iran’s foreign minister calls for regional talks to keep violence in Gaza from spreading
Iran’s foreign minister says the aim of his visit to Beirut is to preserve security in Lebanon amid regional tensions. Hossein Amirabdollahian called in comments after meeting caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut for leaders of the region to hold a meeting in order to discuss the situation.

He warned that the violence in Gaza could spread to the region if Israel does not stop “the destructive war against the Gaza Strip.” He added that what Hamas did over the weekend was in response to the policies of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Muslims gather at mosques for first Friday prayers since war started. In Muslim communities across the world, worshippers gathered at mosques for their first Friday prayers since Hamas militants attacked Israel, igniting the latest Israel-Palestinian War.

Israel-Hamas War: Israeli Embassy staffer in Beijing hospitalized after attack, says report
An Israeli embassy staffer in Beijing has been hospitalized after an attack, Israel’s Foreign Ministry says. The diplomat is in stable condition. A motive for the attack, which did not occur at the embassy, is being probed, the ministry says.

254 Nepali students stranded in Israel repatriated home. A group of 254 Nepali students rescued from the strife-torn Israel and led by Foreign Minister N P Saud arrived in Kathmandu on Friday. A Nepal Airlines flight that took off from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport on Thursday landed at Tribhuvan International Airport here this morning after a stopover in Dubai.

Speaking to the media at the airport, Foreign Minister Saud, who flew to Israel a day before to facilitate the rescue mission, said the remaining Nepalis who have requested repatriation would be rescued soon.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived Friday in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv to meet with senior government leaders and see firsthand some of the US weapons and security assistance that Washington rapidly delivered to Israel in the first week of its war with the militant Hamas group. Austin is the second high-level U.S. official to visit Israel in two days. His visit comes a day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in the region on Thursday. Austin is expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant, and the Israeli War Cabinet.

The Hamas terrorist organization said 13 hostages, including foreigners, who were being held in the Gaza Strip, were killed due to Israeli airstrikes in the past 24 hours. The announcement came after the attack over the weekend, during which Palestinian terrorists reportedly held captive approximately 200 people and took them to Gaza.

As part of the ongoing situation, the Israeli military has informed the families of 97 Israelis taken hostage by the terror group about their loved ones being held in captivity. The situation remains tense, and developments are being closely monitored.

The morgue at Gaza’s biggest hospital overflowed Thursday as bodies came in faster than relatives could claim them on the sixth day of Israel’s heavy aerial bombardment on the territory of 2.3 million people.

With scores of Palestinians killed each day in the Israeli onslaught after an unprecedented Hamas attack, medics in the besieged enclave said they have run out of places to put remains pulled from the latest strikes or recovered from the ruins of demolished buildings.

The morgue at Gaza City’s Shifa hospital can only handle some 30 bodies at a time, and workers had to stack corpses three high outside the walk-in cooler and put dozens more, side by side, in the parking lot. Some were placed in a tent, and others were sprawled on the cement, under the sun.

Tension mounts on the Israel-Lebanon border as Israeli troops, tanks and vehicles were deployed and on standby, on Friday (October 13), the seventh day of war with Hamas that expanded to include the northern borders with Lebanon. Israel has traded barbs with Lebanon’s Hezbollah group continuously during the war.

The Israeli military said it struck 750 military targets in northern Gaza overnight, including what it said were Hamas tunnels, military compounds, residences of senior operatives and weapons storage warehouses. However, a ground invasion of Gaza poses serious risk with Hamas holding scores of hostages kidnapped in the assault.

The Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million people, is under siege by Israel, which has pounded Hamas targets in the enclave and killed more than 1,500 Palestinians in retaliatory attacks since the weekend incursions.

On Friday, a state of high alert was declared in Delhi following intelligence inputs received by the police from security agencies regarding potential anti-social activities amid the tensions between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group.

As per the information received, a significant police presence was deployed on the streets to maintain surveillance, especially during Friday prayers. Additionally, security measures were heightened in sensitive areas, notably around the Israeli Embassy and Jewish religious establishments. These precautions were implemented to ensure the safety and security of the public and key establishments in light of the prevailing situation.

Israel was attacked by Palestinian terrorist organisation Hamas on October 7 and has since launched devastating counterstrikes in Hamas-controlled Gaza. The Israel-Palestine conflict is decades old and several countries have played a key role in it. Here’s how the stance of some of these countries have evolved on the Israel-Palestine issue and what their stance is on the latest Israel-Hamas war.

Israel has fought two wars with Lebanon. One in 1982, after Palestinian leaders were evacuated there, and the other in 2006, after Hezbollah militants captured two Israeli soldiers. The Hezbollah is an Islamist terrorist group based in Lebanon and backed by Iran, and has regularly clashed with Israeli defence forces.