Amidst the Hamas attacks, Argentina initiated the evacuation of over 1,400 of its citizens from Israel.
Argentina, home to the largest Jewish population in Latin America, revealed a comprehensive plan to evacuate 1,419 Argentinians from Israel to Rome.
During a press conference, Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero announced a coordinated effort, involving the Air Force’s Hercules C-130 aircraft, the Defense Ministry, and Aerolíneas Argentinas, to facilitate the safe evacuation of Argentinian citizens from Israel.
He said, “With the work of the Defence Ministry and Aerolíneas Argentinas, we will start an air bridge from Tel Aviv and Rome.”
He further explained that his ministry is collaborating “with the AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) Jewish community center through private initiatives to evacuate Argentines faster.”
According to data from the Foreign Ministry, there are presently 1,419 registered nationals awaiting repatriation from Israel. The government’s primary objective is to ensure their swift return home “as soon as possible.”
Last Thursday, Cafiero took to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, to share the news of the safe arrival of the initial flight, carrying 49 Argentinians, in Rome. He mentioned that they would receive support at the Argentinian embassy and be provided with “temporary shelter” before their eventual return to Argentina.
El primer grupo de argentinos y argentinas evacuados desde Israel llegó a Roma.
El "Hércules" acaba de aterrizar en el aeropuerto militar Mario De Bernardi. Recibirán asistencia en nuestra embajada antes de volver al país. Gracias a todo el equipo del operativo por el esfuerzo. pic.twitter.com/utxRRCNYEC
— Santiago Cafiero (@SantiagoCafiero) October 12, 2023
Cafiero addressed the press, emphasizing that his foremost concern is to “bring Argentines back.”
He also mentioned that they’ve incorporated an Armed Forces Boeing 737 to expedite the evacuation process.
Despite the initial flight from Tel Aviv accommodating just 49 individuals, General Jorge Becerro indicated their intention to raise the daily evacuation number to 210 people. To facilitate this, they’ve requested an additional aircraft from the Air Force.
The government’s Operation Safe Return is set to transport all Argentines who have requested evacuation on a minimum of three daily flights departing from Tel Aviv. Subsequently, these evacuees will return to Argentina from Italy through flights operated by Aerolíneas Argentinas.
As per the report from the Argentinian Foreign Ministry on Thursday, there have been at least seven Argentinian fatalities, and 15 individuals remain unaccounted for.
Ximena Barreto, the Director of External Affairs, expressed her disappointment on X, stating it’s “disappointing to see @POTUS inaction on helping stranded American citizens in Israel. While less privileged countries like Argentina and Mexico are actively rescuing their citizens.”