Ten Nepali students have been killed while four others were injured in armed attacks by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Israel on Saturday. Fighting was still continuing on Sunday in some parts of southern Israel as security forces pursued the militants.
As per the Nepali embassy in Tel Aviv, one student is still missing. While the attack spread terror across the country, 17 Nepali students in Kibbutz Alumim, an area near the Gaza Strip, came under direct attack by the militants. Of them, only two, who are under police protection, were left uninjured. In a statement on Sunday night, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the injured are undergoing treatment at a local hospital.
“Our embassy is coordinating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on how the bodies can be repatriated after examination,” Kanta Rizal, the Nepali ambassador in Israel, told the Post. “We are also in touch with the Israeli authorities.”
Earlier, on Sunday afternoon, informing the House of Representatives about the situation of Nepalis in Israel, Minister for Foreign Affairs NP Saud had said out of 17 Nepali students in Kibbutz Alumim, the area near the Gaza Strip, 12 were missing and some were “feared dead.”
Those who died in the attacks are students of agriculture from Sudur Paschim University.
Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist militant group which rules the Gaza Strip, has launched a massive armed attack on Israel since early Saturday.
While informing the House, Saud said 4,500 Nepalis are working in Israel as caregivers. Similarly, a total of 265 Nepali students are studying in Israel under the ‘Learn and Earn’ programme of the Israeli government, he said. Of them, 119 are from Agriculture and Forestry University, 97 from Tribhuvan University and 49 Sudur Paschim University. All of them are bachelor-level students of agriculture.
The government on Sunday constituted a mechanism led by the foreign minister incorporating all agencies concerned to coordinate and take necessary measures. This mechanism will continuously monitor the situation and take necessary decisions to rescue the Nepalis, according to the minister.
He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has directed the Nepali Embassy in Israel to rescue Nepalis, inform them of the situation and urge them to follow safety instructions and rules issued by the Israeli government.
The foreign ministry, issuing a statement on Saturday, had said that a farm where 14 Nepalis were working had come under attack in Kibbutz Alumim in southern Israel near the Gaza Strip.
Different media outlets reported that Hamas militants fired thousands of rockets and sent dozens of fighters into Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented surprise dawn attack.
The attack is the most ambitious operation Hamas has ever launched from Gaza and the most serious cross-border attack Israel has faced in more than a generation, the BBC said. Palestinian fighters penetrated at least three military installations around the frontier—the Beit Hanoun border crossing (called Erez by Israel), the Zikim base, and the Gaza division headquarters at Reimm, according to the BBC.
Hanan Godar, Israeli ambassador to Nepal, said that some 350 Israelis lost their lives including civilian women and children while hundreds were kidnapped and taken to Gaza.
Israel is at war and will know how to protect its citizens,” he told the Post. “We appreciate the friendly message sent by the Nepali government and by Nepali citizens.”
Various political parties have demanded the government to take diplomatic initiatives to rescue and repatriate Nepalis. Issuing a statement, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba urged the government to ascertain the exact number of Nepalis in Israel and ensure their safety. It also has demanded their repatriation.
“The party also urges friendly nations, international human rights organisations, the International Organisation for Migration, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, among others, to support the repatriation of Nepalis working in Israel,” reads the statement.
The main opposition CPN-UML has also asked Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to talk to his Israeli counterpart to rescue the Nepalis. “Issuing statements and informing the House is not enough. The government must play the role of guardian of its citizens at this time of crisis,” said Padam Giri, the UML chief whip, in Parliament.
The contact details of the Embassy of Nepal in Israel are:
Ambassador: Kanta Rizal +972545864423
First Secretary: Arjun Ghimire +972528289300