Israel extracted some 200 citizens and local Jews from conflict zones in Ethiopia Thursday, the Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office announced, amid fighting in the African country’s northern Amhara region.
According to a joint statement, Israel rescued 174 Israelis and Ethiopians eligible to immigrate from the city of Gondar in Amhara, home to thousands of Ethiopians waiting for permission to move to Israel.
Another 30 Israelis were rescued from Amhara’s capital city of Bahir Dar.
Officials did not say how many of those extracted were citizens and how many were not.
Four flights brought the evacuees to Addis Ababa, from where those immigrating to Israel will travel on to the Jewish state. Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said the Israelis will stay in the Ethiopian capital until deciding to return home or remain in the country.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “Israel looks after its citizens wherever they are,” while thanking those involved for a “quick, silent and most importantly, successful” operation. He pledged that Israel will “warmly” welcome the new immigrants.
Cohen also hailed the rescue.
“The State of Israel will not stand by and will not leave a single Israeli behind,” he said.