Tuesday afternoon saw the arrival of 262 Argentine citizens in the second repatriation flight from Israel, with hundreds of families waiting for the return of their loved ones at the Ministro Pistarini airport in Ezeiza.
After the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, the Argentine government kicked off an evacuation plan called Regreso Seguro (Safe Return) last Tuesday, carried out by the Foreign and Defense ministries along with the Armed Forces. According to the Foreign Ministry, 1,500 Argentines have requested repatriation.
“We’re waiting for our son, who went to study in Israel two years ago to finish high school,” said Gabriel Traiman, father of 18-year-old Ioel. “He’s coming back with the intention of waiting it out until things calm down and then go back and finish his studies. He told us that when he left on Sunday there was a barrage of large missiles and he had to throw himself to the ground.
“We thank the Argentine government for this repatriation but we ask for them to put Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations, to stop doubting it, to reach an agreement between the administration and opposition and declare it already.”
Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, Paraguay, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“We continue the evacuation of our compatriots with the Defense Ministry and our flagship airline,” said Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero said on X (formerly Twitter) alongside a video of the newly-arrived Argentines.
Seven Argentine citizens have been killed and 15 have been kidnapped by Hamas since the war broke out, the Foreign Ministry’s spokeperson told the Herald earlier on Tuesday. A video with images of those who have been kidnapped is being projected in Vaticano square, outside Teatro Colón, until Wednesday.
All Argentine nationals who register can evacuate from Tel Aviv to Rome in an Air Force plane and be brought back to Argentina in a national airline Aerolíneas Argentinas flight. Around 1,500 citizens have requested repatriation so far, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Hamas launched the biggest attack on Israel in years on October 7, firing rockets from Gaza and sending gunmen into Israel on foot. Israel responded by bombarding Gaza and formally declared war the next day. Israel also imposed a total blockade of Gaza.
Around one million Palestinians left their homes in the Gaza strip following a warning from Israel that it planned to intensify air strikes and told residents to move south towards the border with Egypt, according to Reuters.
The United Nations World Food Programme said that stores in Gaza only have enough food left for the next “four or five days” due to the blockade.
You may also be interested in: Video with photos of Hamas kidnapping victims projected outside Teatro Colón
Assistance for Argentines in Israel
To board the emergency evacuation flights, Argentines in Israel have to enter a register that the Argentine consulate in Tel Aviv is compiling.
To be included, they must email [email protected] with their full name, national identity document (DNI) number, a phone number, their current location, a relative’s contact information, medical conditions (if any) and any other relevant information, the Foreign Ministry said.
For urgent assistance, they should call the Tel Aviv consulate’s emergency number: +972 52 597 8359.
The Foreign Ministry has also launched a national phone line for people who need information or wish to inform the authorities about Argentine relatives who are currently in Israel and need assistance. They should call or send a WhatsApp message to +54 9 1140411522.
— with information from Télam