Gondar, Ethiopia
Gondar, EthiopiaiStock

About 200 Israeli citizens and eligible immigrants have been rescued from the battle zone in Gondar, Ethiopia.

Three planes took off from Gondar to Addis Ababa on Thursday afternoon, carrying more than 150 passengers including Israeli citizens who had visited the area, Jewish Agency staff and participants, including volunteers from the organization's Project TEN, as well as around 50 eligible immigrants who are expected to immigrate to Israel soon.

The operation comes as violent clashes arose between the Ethiopian Army and the FANO militia in the Amhara province, trapping some 150 Israelis.

The flights were organized by the Prime Minister's Office in collaboration with The Jewish Agency. The complex rescue efforts from Gondar to Addis Ababa were led by Jewish Agency security officer, Mamush Marsha together with a representative of the Israeli embassy and Jewish Agency security officers. The Project TEN volunteers and Jewish Agency personnel who will arrive in Addis Ababa will later proceed to Israel. Those eligible for Aliyah will be taken care of by The Jewish Agency’s team in Addis Ababa, led by Adana Tadela, in cooperation with the Israeli embassy in Ethiopia, who will attend to all of their needs until the necessary procedures are finalized and they board their flight to Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "The State of Israel cares for its citizens, whoever they are. In recent days, citizens of Israel and eligible immigrants from Ethiopia have been placed in dangerous situations in the battle zones. I ordered them to be taken out of there."

He thanked the staff of the National Security Council, the Prime Minister's Office, and the Foreign Ministry for their “quick, silent and most importantly, successful” operation.

The Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Major General (Res.) Doron Almog, said, "After some tense days, the Jewish Agency, along with the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Israeli Embassy in Ethiopia, the National Security Council, and the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, carried out a courageous operation to rescue those under siege in Gondar. Jewish Agency personnel were on the ground from the very beginning. They worked together with teams in Israel to guide and ensure the safety of the Jews staying in Gondar, including the seven Jewish Agency volunteers at our Project TEN center. Now our staff will support and embrace the rescued individuals with care and sensitivity. We initiated this rescue operation as part of our shared commitment and strong dedication to our people. We won't break our promise; we won't abandon any Jew who needs our help on the ground."