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U.S. To Evacuate Americans Wanting To Leave Israel By Sea, Embassy Says

  Some Americans wanting to leave Israel will be evacuated by sea, the United States Embassy in Israel announced on Sunday.  In a security a...

 Some Americans wanting to leave Israel will be evacuated by sea, the United States Embassy in Israel announced on Sunday. 

In a security alert, the embassy said a ship would leave Haifa, which is a northern Israeli port city, on Monday, and arrive in the Port of Limassol in Cyprus. The announcement comes as several U.S. airlines have canceled flights to Tel Aviv since Hamas attacked Israel last weekend. 

“The U.S. government is assisting U.S. nationals and their immediate family members with a valid travel document to depart Haifa via sea for Cyprus on October 16, 2023,” the security alert said. “Boarding begins at 0800 AM local time. U.S. citizens must arrive at Haifa port passenger terminal no later than 0900 AM local time.” 

The alert says that before boarding the ship, the Americans must first sign a promissory note agreeing to pay back the U.S. government for the travel costs. The embassy also says that plans are subject to change based on the security situation within Israel and the government cannot guarantee anyone’s safety. 

Americans will also be responsible for coordinating accommodations, flights, and travel to leave Cyprus, though U.S. consular staff will be available to provide assistance and chartered flights are being “arranged.” The journey between Haifa and Cyprus will take between ten and twelve hours.  

On Friday, the State Department conducted its first chartered flight out of Israel, which landed in Athens, Greece. A source told Reuters that additional flights are scheduled between Tel Aviv and Athens until at least October 19. Flights out of Israel are expected to arrive in other European cities as well. More than 400 Americans had signed up for the first flight, Reuters reported. 

White House spokesman John Kirby said last week that the administration was looking at additional ways to get Americans out, including by sea. “We’re just trying to add to the options,” he said. 

Several commercial airlines have suspended flights in and out of Israel, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines, following a notice from the Federal Aviation Administration urging airlines to exercise caution. Delta said it would suspend direct services to Israel until the end of the month, Reuters reported. 


Despite the ongoing conflict and some airlines’ hesitation to provide services to the country, Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport – which is just 40 miles from the frontlines of the war – continues to operate and Israel’s civil airspace has remained open. 

“The main mitigation measure that we’re taking is completely separating the routes from the area of the conflict,” Libby Bahat, the head of the aerial infrastructure department at Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority, told The Wall Street Journal. “The routes, basically, in and out of Israel are much [more] northern than they are usually, going ten miles south of Haifa.” 

According to the Associated Press, there are between 160,000 and 170,000 Americans in Israel as tourists, residents, or in another capacity, and up to 600 American citizens in Gaza. The State Department has put Israel on a Level 3 travel advisory, which tells Americans to “reconsider travel” to the country. 

More than 1,300 Israelis have been killed by Hamas and roughly 3,200 more have been injured. Israel declared war against Hamas last Sunday and has been responding militarily since. At least 29 Americans have been killed by Hamas, while 15 remain unaccounted for, CBS reports

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