Two hundred Italian citizens who were trapped in Israel returned home early Tuesday amid ongoing heavy clashes in the Middle Eastern country.
The first group of people arrived in Italy early Tuesday via two military aircraft, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on X.
The Israeli citizens were flown to the Practica di Mare air base in Rome by evacuation flights that were coordinated by the Foreign Ministry and used transport aircraft of the Italian Air Force.
The country planned to operate two more flights to evacuate its citizens who are stranded amid heavy clashes between Israeli forces and the Palestinian group Hamas.
"In the coming days, 500 more Italians will return to Italy on private and military flights," Tajani told parliament, without providing any information about the Italian and Israeli couple's whereabouts.
The couple might have been taken hostage, he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visited the Great Synagogue in the capital Rome to show her solidarity with Israel.
The Palestinian group Hamas launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel early Saturday, firing a barrage of rockets and infiltrating Israel by land, air, and sea.
It said the surprise attack was in response to the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and increased settler violence against Palestinians.
In retaliation, the Israeli military launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Gaza has risen to 830, including at least 143 children and 105 women, the Gaza-based Health Ministry said early Tuesday. It said the number of wounded has risen to 4,250.
More than 1,000 Israelis have been killed, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.