The Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Tel Aviv is on the alert since Saturday, when Hamas attacked Israel, Cyprus’ Ambassador to Israel Kornelios Korneliou has said. Speaking from Tel Aviv, Ambassador Korneliou described to the Cyprus News Agency Saturday’s experience regarding the attack, by saying that “it was a very difficult day that started very early with the first wave of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. This situation continued until late.”
Regarding Cypriot citizens in Israel, Ambassador Korneliou explained that a few dozen happened to be in the country either for medical, tourist or other purposes, such as those who went to Israel for the Bruno Mars concert – due to the situation the event was finally cancelled. Moreover, there were also around 300 Cypriots who were in Israel for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
“It was a difficult exercise, fortunately, however, there were no Cypriots among the victims or the injured,” the Ambassador of Cyprus to Israel stressed, explaining that some Cypriots have already returned to Cyprus. As he indicated, it is very important that Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv continues to operate, even though some companies have either suspended or reduced the number of their flights, something that naturally creates difficulties in finding tickets.
He also noted that the Embassy was contacted by several Cypriots who wanted to know whether the airport continues to operate and whether there are flights to Cyprus, how to get to the airport, etc. “There was a situation yesterday that was difficult for all of us, therefore they contacted us to get information on how they should move in order to avoid any danger,” he said.
Replying on whether there were any Cypriots near the border with Gaza Strip, Ambassador Korneliou said that according to the Embassy’s information there were no such cases, adding that he had also communicated on the matter with the Representative of the Republic of Cyprus to the Palestinian Authority and noted that no alarming information emerges from that end either.
Regarding Embassy personnel, Ambassador Korneliou said that everyone is on the alert to respond to any requests. He also noted that yesterday he was repeatedly contacted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Constantinos Kombos who wanted to stay in the loop regarding possible issues with Cypriots in Israel or the Embassy staff.
In the meantime, Minister of Transport, Communications and Works Alexis Vafeades told CNA that the Republic of Cyprus monitors the situation in Israel to see if any help is needed.
He also said that “flights from Israel operate as normal and we monitor the situation in Israel to see if we can help in any way.” However, it appears that everything is progressing smoothly.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Theodoros Gotsis, told CNA that the five Cypriots who were sent to Israel for treatment and their families are well and that they will remain in Israel to continue their treatment.