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Flights set to rescue Australians from war-torn Israel

Hundreds of Australians are preparing to board repatriation flights out of Israel as a ground war looms in Gaza.



Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said 1600 people had registered in Israel or the West Bank, including 19 in Gaza, for repatriation in what was an "extraordinary logistical exercise".


A Qantas flight was due to depart Ben Gurion International Airport on Friday night for London, with a connecting flight planned from London to Sydney via Singapore on Tuesday.


The initial flight is expected to land in Sydney on Wednesday morning, and a second Qantas flight will leave Tel Aviv on Sunday.


The government confirmed on Friday at least two further charter flights would take Australians from Tel Aviv to Dubai.


"We're doing all that we can - this is an extraordinary logistical exercise while a war is going on," Mr Albanese said.


Qantas said 900 crew volunteered for the flights, far exceeding the 70 required.


Virgin and Qatar Airways also offered to help Australians trying to leave.


The situation for 19 Australians trapped in Gaza, including a family of four from Adelaide, is worsening as they face an imminent Israeli invasion and a lack of food, water and electricity.


"Our beloved children are living in a constant state of fear and, with each passing day, the availability of food and clean water dwindles further," a member of the family said in a letter to the federal government.


"This might be my last message to anyone.


"Please can the government negotiate an exit strategy through Egypt?"


Foreign Minister Penny Wong urged Australians wanting to leave not to delay.


"This is a very difficult situation ... the United States and other parties are seeking to establish humanitarian access, humanitarian corridors, and Australia supports those efforts," she told reporters in Adelaide.


Senator Wong said some contact had been made with the family but could not provide further detail.


Australian Friends of Palestine Association spokesman Mike Khizam called on the government to do more to secure their escape.


"The situation there is horrific now, but we're expecting it to get much, much worse," he told AAP.


"We need the Australian government to balance its concerns both for Palestinian civilians and Israeli civilians."

An estimated 10,000 Australian citizens are in Israel, including dual citizens and tourists.

Land border entries to Jordan remain open but Australians have been advised to confirm the status of the crossings prior to departure.

The repatriation mission comes after the Islamist group Hamas attacked the country's south from Gaza, killing more than 1000 people and taking hostages.

In retaliation, the Israel Defence Force launched a counter offensive and bombed militant targets in Gaza, preparing for a ground war to "destroy" Hamas.

The Israeli death toll has risen to more than 1300. Most were civilians gunned down in their homes, on the streets and at a music festival.

Israel says 97 Israeli and foreign hostages were taken back to Gaza.

Gaza authorities say more than 1400 Palestinians have been killed and more than 6000 wounded in the retaliatory strikes.

Among those killed in Israel was Australian grandmother Galit Carbone, 66, who died at the hands of Hamas militants who attacked her village near the Gaza border.


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