Tamara Thaler (second from the left) and her brother (fourth from the left) reunited with their cousins. Photograph: The Guardian

Last Planned Australian Repatriation Flight To Depart Israel Today

The last planned repatriation flight to bring Australians home from Israel will leave the war-torn country today.

It follows a repatriation flight which landed in Sydney this morning carrying 252 passengers – half of those were Australian citizens.

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Another flight, carrying 59 passengers, mostly Australian citizens also departed Tel Aviv this morning.

Home affairs minister Clare O’Neil said while it may not mean “absolutely there will be no more flights”, Australians in Israel are advised to “get on this plane”.

She said the final flight scheduled for today would also depend on the security situations at the time of its departure.

“Don’t assume that there will be continuous options to leave. If you want to leave, there is a flight leaving today, please get on it,” Ms O’Neil said.

“A lot of your [people] probably don’t realise this is an enormous logistical effort that it takes for the Australian government to repatriate people from what is effectively becoming a war zone, and I’m very proud of their efforts.”

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It raises questions about the 46 Australian citizens who are still in Gaza – and what support will be available to help them leave.

Ms O’Neil said the Australian government was working with the United States and United Kingdom to provide a way for residents to leave.

“We’re working incredibly hard to try to get more information about those people and to provide them some semblance of a plan to get them out,” she said.

“What we need to understand here is that Gaza is effectively locked off, there is two million people living in a tiny plot of land with only one entry and exit point that is currently not open.

“So, citizens of the UK, of the US, and Australia – like other countries around the world – are effectively not able to leave.”

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