India stands ‘in solidarity with Israel’ after attacks, says PM Modi

Indian embassy in Tel Aviv has urged nationals to maintain security protocol and stay close to safety shelters; Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that at least 27 persons from the State visiting Bethlehem are ‘stuck’ following conflict

October 07, 2023 05:26 pm | Updated October 08, 2023 12:15 am IST - New Delhi

An Israeli soldier takes cover on the road near Sderot, Israel, on October 7, 2023.

An Israeli soldier takes cover on the road near Sderot, Israel, on October 7, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday expressed solidarity with Israel as Hamas launched land, sea and air attacks from the Gaza Strip. In the backdrop of the sudden outbreak of conflict, the Indian embassy in Israel has urged Indian nationals to remain vigilant.

Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad Sangma has said that at least 27 persons from the State visiting Christian holy sites in Bethlehem are “stuck” because of the situation.

“Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour,” said Mr. Modi, hours after thousands of rockets from the Gaza Strip slammed into south and central Israel.

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The Indian Embassy in Israeli capital Tel Aviv has urged nationals to maintain security protocol and “stay close to safety shelters”. India and Israel have close relations covering security, defence and technology. Apart from a significant number of Indian-origin Jewish citizens, a sizeable number of Indian professionals and students are known to be in Israel at the moment. “In case of emergency, please contact us at +97235226748, or leave a message at,” the embassy said.

The Ministry of External Affairs has not yet spoken about the threat that the conflict is posing to Indian nationals in Israel. Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad Sangma said that at least 27 persons from the State are stuck in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, where they had gone on a pilgrimage. “I am in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs to ensure their safe passage back home,” Mr. Sangma said in a post on social media.

Israel, dotted with biblical sites and Muslim holy places, is a major destination of global religious tourism. Given the political nature of the region, Christian and Muslim pilgrims from India have to navigate territories and checkpoints that are controlled by both the Israeli as well as Palestinian administrations. After the 1967 war, Israel acquired control of Jerusalem and Bethlehem but handed over control of Bethlehem to the Palestinian National Authority in 1995. There are also concerns about many Indian caregivers who are known to reside in the cities near the Gaza border.

Students affected

Kanta Rijal, Nepal’s Ambassador to Israel, has told news agency ANI that at least seven Nepalese students in Israel were injured in the attack by Hamas and 17 were held captive.

Reports also suggest that a Sri Lankan, Sujith Priyankara, was injured and admitted to the Barzilai Medical Centre in Ashkelon.

Israel has a large number of Bnei Menashe members from India’s northeastern region who were granted citizenship of Israel under a special scheme which aimed to bring back tribes that were believed to have links to ancient Israel. There are concerns about their safety as many of them are known to be serving in the border areas.

Saturday’s eruption of conflict has led to the cancellation of Air India’s New Delhi-Tel Aviv flight as the airspace over Israel remains an active conflict zone.

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