18,000 Indians Stuck As Gun Battles Rage In Israeli Towns, On Highways

Israel is battling the worst escalation in its conflict with Palestinian group Hamas.

New Delhi:

Israel is battling the worst escalation in its conflict with Palestinian group Hamas which has claimed nearly 1,000 lives and women thousands more on each side. Hamas launched its massive surprise attack on Israel with a barrage of rockets and a large-scale ground assault on Saturday. Thousands of Israeli forces were deployed to battle Hamas fighters in the south and the air force again pounded targets in the Gaza Strip

As gun battles are raging in towns and on highways, nearly 18,000 citizens are stuck in Israel. The majority of them are caregivers, IT professionals and students.

There are many agencies in Israel which hire caregivers from India for the elderly population there. There are about 85,000 Jews of Indian-origin in Israel.

NDTV also spoke to two Indian students who are currently in the Israeli city of Bersheva. They said the situation currently is “very unpredictable”.

“We are one hour away from the Gaza Strip. Right now, there are no attacks here but we have been hearing about other students in the southern part of Israel which is under attack,” Shweta, an Indian student in the city of Bersheva, told NDTV.

“The situation is very unpredictable. But the city is safer than the other parts of Israel as of now,” said another student.

Immigration of Indians to Israel started between 1950s-60s. In recent years, Jews from Mizoram, Manipur have migrated to Israel.

The Indian embassy at Jerusalem and the Representative Office of India in Palestine on Saturday issued advisories asking Indian nationals in respective countries to “remain vigilant” and “directly contact the Office” in case of emergency as a full-fledged war broke out between the ruling Hamas  group in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Gunmen from the Hamas rampaged through Israeli towns on Saturday, killing and escaping with dozens of hostages in by far the deadliest day of violence in Israel since the Yom Kippur war 50 years ago.

Bodies of Israeli civilians were strewn across the streets of Sderot in southern Israel, near Gaza, surrounded by broken glass, reported news agency Reuters.

The escalation comes against a backdrop of surging violence between Israel and Palestinian terrorists in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where a Palestinian authority exercises limited self-rule, opposed by Hamas that wants Israel destroyed.

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