Approximately 160 individuals were evacuated on Tuesday and Wednesday on a Portuguese military aircraft C-130 from Israel to Cyprus, among them 8 Cypriot citizens, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Theodoros Gotsis has told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), adding that a relevant request for the evacuation of citizens from Israel and their transfer to Cyprus has been submitted by Austria and the first flight of an Austrian military aircraft has been scheduled for Wednesday evening.
Portugal sent a military aircraft C-130 that carried out three flights, one at midday on Tuesday and two on Thursday, one in the early hours and one in the morning, to transfer citizens, mainly Portuguese, but also citizens of other countries, from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv to Larnaka airport, Gotsis noted. He added that among the passengers was also a small number of third countries’ citizens.
Gotsis further said that Austria submitted also a request for the use of Larnaka airport for the evacuation of citizens on a military aircraft it will send, and the first flight will take place on Wednesday evening.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson noted that these flights are conducted after the activation of ESTIA, which is the National Action Plan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, that is activated in case of emergency or crisis, to allow for the safe evacuation of civilians from a nearby crisis area through Cyprus.
Moreover, Gotsis recalled that the Ben Gurion airport remains open and commercial flights continue to be conducted from Israel.
Responding to a question, Gotsis said that arrangements are made for the return of the last Cypriots who want to come back to the island, the number of whom is now very small.
As he noted since the day that this crisis broke out, after Hamas’ attack against Israel, last Saturday, more than 300 Cypriots returned to Cyprus.
On Tuesday the competent Ministerial Team decided to activate the Special National Plan ESTIA for the reception and repatriation of foreign citizens from an area in crisis, through the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.