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Emergency service members inspect the damage to a residential building which was hit by rockets fired from Gaza in Ashkelon, Israel, yesterday. Alamy
Travel Warning

Department of Foreign Affairs in contact with 'small number of Irish citizens in Gaza'

Irish citizens are being urged to “avoid non-essential travel” to Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

THE DEPARTMENT OF Foreign Affairs has said it is in contact with a “small number of Irish citizens” currently in Gaza and is “providing consular assistance as appropriate”.

The official travel advice for Irish citizens in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank was updated over the weekend urging people to “avoid non-essential travel”.

Any Irish citizen seeking to leave the region is being urged to contact their airline.

Hundreds of targets were struck in Gaza by Israeli forces overnight following Hamas attacks on Israel that have so far killed over 700.

In a statement this morning a Foreign Affairs spokesperson said the department was “closely monitoring the situation in respect of Irish citizens in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)”. 

“Our Embassy in Tel Aviv and our Representative Office in Ramallah, with support from our HQ consular team, are in ongoing contact with a significant number of citizens and are providing support,” the spokesperson added.

“Anyone with concerns in relation to Irish citizens can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs on 01-4082000 or follow @dfatirl.

“We also urge all citizens in Israel and the oPt to follow closely the consular advice issued by our Embassy in Tel Aviv and our Representative Office in Ramallah on X (formerly Twitter).”

The statement added:

“We urge citizens to avoid all travel to Southern Israel, and exercise extreme caution in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

The statement notes that Ben Gurion, Israel’s main international airport is open.

“Citizens in Israel wishing to leave should keep in contact with their airline.

This is a developing situation, with the potential for escalation. Any citizen currently in Israel or the occupied Palestinian territory, should register with the Embassy.

Poland confirmed this morning it had begun to evacuate its citizens from Israel with defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak confirming the first plane had arrived home overnight.

“The first people evacuated from Israel are already in Poland. I would like to thank the soldiers for carrying out the operation efficiently. You are the best,” he said in a tweet.

Kim Damti

It was confirmed yesterday afternoon that an Irish-Israeli citizen is among those missing in the wake of the Hamas attacks.

The Irish government yesterday it is in contact with the family of 22-year-old Kim Damti, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today saying officials were aware of the case.

He added: “We don’t have any definite detail beyond that, but certainly (we’re) aware of it and willing to offer any consular assistance we can to any Irish citizens or any dual Irish citizens that are caught up in these terrible attacks.”

Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin echoed those comments.

“We are aware of the case and the Department Foreign Affairs has been in touch… with the family. But we don’t intend to comment specifically on the case at this stage.”

Irish troops

Cathal Berry, independent TD and former soldier, today spoke about the impact the violence could have on Irish troops who serve on peacekeeping missions in the region.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Berry noted there are about 340 Irish troops at the Israeli-Lebanese border and about 140 at the Israeli-Syrian border.

He said there will be “heightened vigilance and heightened tension” as Irish authorities monitor the situation.

“We should be very, very clear that Ireland is very, very vocal in condemning Israeli aggression,” Berry said.

“We should be equally vocal in condemning Hamas aggression – and that’s equally unacceptable, particularly from a hostage-taking point of view. Ireland is very sensitive to hostage taking in that region.

“We’ve had a number of troops who’ve been taken hostage and summarily executed over the years by both sides, so it’s a red line issue for Ireland.”

Contains reporting by Órla Ryan