Two Bundeswehr aircraft to repatriate German citizens are on the return flight from Israel to Germany. There were a total of 80 passengers on board the two A400M military transporters, the Bundeswehr announced on Sunday night via the online platform X, formerly known as Twitter. The first plane with 51 passengers took off from Tel Aviv at 11 p.m. (CEST), the second with 29 passengers almost three hours later. “Further flights are in preparation,” it said.
A week after the terrorist attacks by the Islamist Hamas in Israel, the Bundeswehr is to fly out German citizens. One of the Air Force's goals is to build a "hub" - a hub for further flights. The deployment of another Bundeswehr machine is being prepared for Sunday.
Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) explained: "The Bundeswehr is in close coordination with the Foreign Office and is supporting it with the so-called rapid air pick-up. We are also prepared for military evacuations should this become necessary. I am proud that our population can rely on the rapid deployment of these forces."
In the past few days, the Foreign Office has already supported around 2,800 German citizens and family members to leave the country. Lufthansa has put its scheduled flights from Israel on hold, but there have been special flights in the meantime.
Wolfgang Hellmich, defense policy spokesman for the SPD in the Bundestag, said: "We very much welcome the fact that the federal government is now using the available and proven capabilities of the air force to bring German citizens from Israel to safety." Both planes had relief material on board for Israel, and the return flight would be used to evacuate German citizens. “May as many people as possible return safely.”
Israel is preparing a major attack on the Gaza Strip
The Israeli military says it is preparing for an "integrated and coordinated attack from the air, sea and land" on the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The preparations were about to be completed, it was said on Saturday evening.
A new exit option via Jordan had so far only been used to a very limited extent. The Foreign Office wanted to help people who decided to do so with bus transport to Aqaba. It also appealed to Germans wanting to leave the country to register on the Elefand crisis preparedness list. In addition, they are preparing “for all eventualities, for example in the event that the situation worsens,” it said.