Saturday, June 15, 2024

2 more flights depart for Israel to repatriate Mexicans via Madrid

Two Mexican Air Force planes departed the Felipe Ángeles International Airport near Mexico City Friday on their second mission to evacuate Mexican citizens from Israel amid Israel’s ongoing war with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The Boeing 737 aircraft took off Friday morning and were expected to arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv some 18 hours later after stops in Canada and Ireland.

The first flights from Israel arrived on Wednesday, Oct. 11, carrying a total of 276 Mexican passengers. (@SRE_mx/Twitter)

The planes will initially take passengers from Israel to Madrid, Spain, allowing authorities to evacuate all Mexicans who want to leave the country more quickly.

President López Obrador said Thursday that 764 Mexicans who want to leave remained stranded after the first two humanitarian flights carrying almost 300 passengers returned to Mexico on Wednesday.

Once all Mexican citizens who want to leave Israel have reached Madrid, the two planes will return to Mexico. People who don’t get a seat on those flights will have to make their own arrangements to return home.

Authorities are prioritizing the evacuation and repatriation of elderly people, disabled people, pregnant women, people who are injured or have health problems and children and adolescents.

The Mexican rhythmic gymnastics team, which had been training in Tel Aviv, arrived home to Mexico on one of the first two repatriation flights. (@SRE_mx/Twitter)

The crews on the two planes are made up of military personnel and officials with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Mexican Embassy in Israel is assisting the repatriation efforts.

In a post on the X social media site, Foreign Affairs Minister Alicia Bárcena said that Mexicans in Israel also had the option of leaving by land to Jordan. She didn’t provide any other details.

López Obrador said earlier this week that as many as 5,000 Mexicans were in Israel, including residents of the Middle Eastern country.

Two Mexicans, a woman and a man, are believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas members during their attack on Israel last Saturday. It is believed they are being held in the Gaza Strip, where at least 1,900 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes this week, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Hamas killed more than 1,300 people during its incursion into Israel.

With reports from Milenio and El Economista 

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