Foreign ministry to evacuate Swedes from Israel and Palestine

TT/The Local
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Foreign ministry to evacuate Swedes from Israel and Palestine
An Israeli soldier walks through a destroyed house in kibbutz Kfar Azza on Tuesday. Photo: AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg

The Swedish government is going to evacuate Swedish citizens and non-Swedes living in Sweden from Israel and Palestine by plane from the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv.


"We have followed the situation in Israel and Palestine on an hour-by-hour basis, along with the other Nordic countries," Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said. "The government has during this time planned for different scenarios and prepared accordingly."

"Last night, plans were made to carry out an assisted departure from the country, in collaboration with other countries."

The foreign ministry estimate that there are around 4,000 people with links to Sweden in Israel, and around 800 in Palestinian areas affected by the conflict.

Foreign ministry press spokesperson Helena Zimmerdahl-Torgerson confirmed to The Local that evacuation will be available for Swedish citizens, as well as non-Swedes living in Sweden with valid residency permits or right of residence in Sweden.

Evacuation flights will leave from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, with no details yet on when they will depart.

The number who can be evacuated also depends on how much interest there is from people in the area, who are encouraged to sign up for the so-called "Swedish list" – where Swedish citizens can notify the foreign ministry they're abroad – after which they will be contacted accordingly.

Evacuees will need to make their own way to the airport.

Many airlines have announced cancellations to standard flights from Israel over the past few days, with many people in the conflict zone experiencing difficulties leaving the country.

"This is a precaution to help Swedes who want to leave but have had difficulty booking commercial flights out of Israel," Billström said.


"Flights are open for Swedes in Israel and Palestine. All Swedes will be responsible for their own journeys to the airport from their current location."

Denmark and Norway also announced evacuation plans for citizens in affected areas on Wednesday morning.

As recently as Monday, Billström told TT that the government was not planning to initiate evacuation flights, but that it was monitoring the situation carefully and preparing for different scenarios.

Other countries such as Spain, Poland, Mexico and Hungary have already initiated evacuation flights for their citizens.


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