Around 1,000 Italians to be repatriated from Israel – Tajani

There are around 1,000 Italians requiring repatriation from Israel following the resurgence of hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians triggered by Saturday’s surprise air, sea and land attack by Hamas from Gaza, Foreign Minister and Deputy Premier Antonio Tajani said on Tuesday.

These include around 400 Italians who flew back to Italy on military flights on Tuesday morning or who are due to arrive later in the day.

Since the start of the crisis the government’s “priority has been the Italians in Israel”, Tajani told the Lower House in a briefing ahead of his trip to Egypt on Wednesday, adding that there is no news of the missing couple with dual Italian-Israeli citizenship.

“They are probably hostages, we will do what we can,” he said.

“There are about 1,000 Italians” present in the country “in addition to the 18,000 Italian residents in Israel”, adding that the government is working “to repatriate them all”.

On top of the 400 Italians repatriated on Tuesday, Tajani said a further 500 people would be flying back on commercial and military planes “in the coming days”.

There are also 10 Italians in Gaza, including a young girl, the minister added.

On diplomacy, Tajani said Egypt is “a crucial interlocutor” and “can play a fundamental role as a go-between with Hamas in crisis situations”, also “to facilitate negotiations on the hostages” being held in Gaza.

“We can also count on the constructive contribution of Saudi Arabia and Jordan,” he added, stressing the importance of working “with our allies to promote de-escalation and implement humanitarian initiatives to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population”.

On Wednesday Tajani will be in Cairo where he will meet President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and the Secretary of the Arab League Aboul Gheit.

“For this insane spiral of violence there is only one guilty party: Hamas. The attack on Israel is a very serious act of aggression, without justification,” Tajani told parliament.

“It has claimed hundreds of innocent victims and injured thousands.