The first aircraft of the Colombian Aerospace Force (FAC), chartered by the national government for the evacuation of Colombians in Israel, has already left the country for Colombia. The aircraft arrived in the region after a stopover in Portugal to pick up the first group of compatriots requesting help from the embassy in Tel Aviv to leave the country, due to the escalating conflict that began on October 7.
The flight will arrive in Colombia with the first 110 evacuated Colombians after another stop in Portugal. The images show happiness and relief after several days of anxiety due to the experiences they lived through. While the central region of Israel has not suffered significant attacks, the scenes of extreme violence during the Hamas militants’ attack on Saturday and the Israeli military’s counterattack have generated fear and numerous requests from foreigners to leave the region.
Military evacuation operation
The Ministry of Defense, following orders from the presidency, decided on Monday, October 9, to charter two FAC aircraft to pick up more than 200 Colombians who had requested to leave Israel after the Hamas attack and subsequent hostilities.
The humanitarian mission aims to evacuate more than 200 people from Israel on two flights, using Portugal as a stopover for passengers to board another aircraft that will finally bring them to Colombia. Two aircraft, FAC 1222 and FAC 1219, are being used for this mission to extract citizens from the conflict-ridden country.
“Happiness and gratitude are what 110 Colombians in Tel Aviv, Israel, feel with the arrival of the first aircraft of the Colombian Aerospace Force, sent by the government on a humanitarian mission to move them to Lisbon, Portugal, where they will board FAC1222 bound for Colombia,” the Ministry of Defense stated.
Second flight, for Friday
The second flight is expected to return from Portugal to Tel Aviv on Friday. Diplomatic authorities have reported that they have been in constant contact with Colombians in Israel to coordinate their evacuation in a few days.
“The government of Colombia, through the embassy in Israel and its consular section in Tel Aviv, has been providing assistance and guidance to Colombians in the area on an ongoing basis. So far, over 230 Colombians have received support and guidance to reschedule their flights back to the country,” the Foreign Ministry emphasized.
For now, the outbreak of violence in Israel has claimed the life of one Colombian: Ivonne Rubio, who was at the electronic music festival held on October 7 in Negev. Another fellow compatriot, her partner Antonio Mesias, remains officially missing.