The Indian embassy at Tel Aviv and the Representative Office of India in Palestine on October 7 issued advisories asking Indian nationals in respective countries to “remain vigilant” and “directly contact the Office” in case of emergency as a full-fledged war broke out between the ruling Hamas militant group in the Gaza Strip and Israel killing at least 498 people from both sides. As they entered southern Israel by land, sea and air, using paragliders, Hamas militants fired more than 2,000 rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel, according to the Israeli military. Hamas says it captured several Israeli soldiers near the border.
The surprise attack has killed 200 people and injured more than 1,100 in Israel. In the Gaza Strip side, there were 198 dead and about 1,500 wounded in Israel’s counterattack, media reports said.
“In view of the current situation in Israel, all Indian nationals in Israel are requested to remain vigilant and observe safety protocols as advised by local authorities. Please exercise caution, avoid unnecessary movement, and stay close to safety shelters,” the Embassy said in its advisory. The advisory gave relevant phone numbers in case of emergency and also provided URLs for Israeli Home Front Command and Preparedness brochures.
The advisory was issued in English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada languages. According to the details on the website of the Indian Embassy here, there are about 18,000 Indian citizens in Israel, primarily caregivers employed by Israeli elders, diamond traders, IT professionals and students. There are approximately 85,000 Jews of Indian origin in Israel too that were part of the main waves of immigration into Israel from India in the fifties and sixties.
“Today was a very difficult day, we have never seen a situation (like this). Within 20 minutes, 5,000 rockets were fired, and they (Hamas militants) killed 22 people while 500 were injured. This is a very difficult situation for the country,” Soma Ravi, an Indian national working in Israel for 18 years, told the news agency.
Vikas Sharma, an Indian student at the Hebrew University here, said, “There’s a tense situation in Israel because of the attack, but all the Indian students are safe. Most of the students are staying in dorms and accommodations provided by the college. We are in contact with each other as well as the Indian embassy through WhatsApp.”
In Ramallah, the Representative Office of India in Palestine posted a public notice on X late on Saturday night: “In light of the prevailing security situation, Indian nationals in Palestine can directly contact the Representative Office of India to address any case of emergency or needed assistance on the 24-hours Emergency Helpline.”
It also gave two contact numbers.
Meanwhile, in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted on X, “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.”