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U.S. organizes ship to get more Americans out of Israel

Travelers will head to a port in Cyprus, where chartered flights will help evacuate them.
U.S. organizes ship to get more Americans out of Israel
Posted at 10:40 AM, Oct 15, 2023

The U.S. has organized a ship to get more Americans out of Israel.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel said the ship will take Americans and their immediate family members with valid travel documents to Cyprus. From there they will arrange their own travel or utilize chartered flights set up to help evacuate them.

The ship will depart Monday morning from the Israeli city of Haifa. Boarding begins at 8:00 a.m. local time.

Travel to Cyprus' Limassol Port is expected to take 10 to 12 hours. Food and Wi-Fi will be provided. 

At least 29 Americans have been killed since Hamas launched an unprecedented terror attack on Israel last Saturday, the U.S. State Department said. At least 15 are reported missing. National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby had previously told reporters the number of Americans held hostage by Hamas is believed to be “less than a handful.”

Efforts to help evacuate more Americans comes as Israel is expected to launch an all-out invasion into Gaza — by air, land and sea — as it prepares to take on Hamas targets. An Israeli military spokesperson said the strike will happen "very soon" but did not specify timing.

On Saturday, the U.S. coordinated with Egypt, Israel and Qatar on a plan to allow Palestinian Americans and other dual citizens in Gaza to cross the border into Egypt during a five-hour window, according to a U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

This came as Israel urged a mass evacuation from Gaza's northern territory Friday. While the U.S. did not ask Israel to delay evacuation plans, it asked that Israel take civilian lives into account.

Also over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the deployment of second aircraft carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean, an effort he said was “to deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war.” 

U.S. officials said the strike group will not join the fighting in Gaza or take part in Israeli operations.

The first carrier strike group, the USS Gerald R. Ford, arrived off the coast of Israel earlier this week.

SEE MORE: US State Department: 29 Americans dead, 15 missing in Israel-Hamas war

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