The mission to rescue Portuguese nationals, including tourists and residents in Israel, is currently in progress.
Out of nearly 200 individuals who informed the Portuguese authorities of their desire to leave Israel, a group of 80 were already in Larnaca, Cyprus, confirmed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, João Gomes Cravinho, in an official statement.
A chartered TAP Air Portugal flight, organized by the Portuguese government, is scheduled to depart from Larnaca this evening, for Portugal and is anticipated to arrive in Lisbon this Wednesday, as announced by the ministry led by João Gomes Cravinho.
The minister also disclosed that there are approximately 3,000 Portuguese individuals registered in Israel, the majority of whom live there, possess dual nationality, and have not expressed the desire to travel to Portugal.
The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, condemned the Hamas attack on Israel concluding that negotiations between Israel and Palestine are now more difficult.
“For anyone who defends a viable solution, such as the one that the international community has long adopted as possible and desirable, these types of attacks are reprehensible, as they have the effect of making the resolution of the conflict between Israel and Hamas more difficult,” he remarked.
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa denounced the violence and said that “terrorist attacks against Israel are unacceptable and deserve our strongest condemnation.”
The Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, João Gomes Cravinho remarked, “We firmly condemn the terrorist attacks launched against civilians by Hamas today. Israel has the right to defend itself.”
Regarding the occurrence of Portuguese nationals or descendants among the casualties or hostages taken by Hamas, the head of Portuguese diplomacy stated that no verified information is available.
Around 60,000 Israelis had Portuguese citizenship in 2022. Many of those passports were obtained after Lisbon started granting citizenship to people whose Jewish ancestors were expelled from Portugal during the Inquisition.
Over the weekend, the Islamist group Hamas, initiated a surprise attack on Israeli territory on Saturday, named Operation “al-Aqsa Storm,” involving the launch of thousands of rockets and the infiltration of armed militants by land, sea, and air. In response, Israel conducted airstrikes targeting various Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip under the operation title “Iron Swords.” The armed conflict has resulted in casualties on both sides, with thousands of deaths and injuries reported.