10 Nepali students killed, 4 hurt in Hamas attacks in Israel

Ten Nepali students have been killed and four others injured in Israel after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a wave of rocket attacks in the country’s southern region, Nepal’s foreign ministry said on Monday.

Hamas carried out a barrage of air strikes in Southern Israel on Saturday, killing over 700 people, including soldiers, and wounding more than 1,900.

The Israel defense forces in response launched multiple attacks targeting Hamas’ key infrastructure.

More than 500 people have been killed in Gaza in the biggest escalation in decades between the two sides.

In a press statement, the foreign ministry here said 10 Nepali nationals lost their lives in the recent attack by Hamas in Israel.

Out of the 17 Nepali nationals working on a farm at Kibbutz Alumim, an area near the Gaza Strip, two safely escaped, four were injured and one is still missing, it said.

“We have received the information of the sad demise of ten Nepali nationals from the site, where the Hamas had launched an attack,” Nepal’s embassy in Jerusalem said in a statement.

All 10 people killed in the Hamas attack were students of agriculture from Sudur Paschim University in Western Nepal, according to ministry sources.

There are currently 4,500 Nepali nationals working as caregivers in Israel. A total of 265 Nepali students are studying in Israel under the ‘Learn and Earn’ programme of the Israeli government. Of them, 119 are from Agriculture and Forestry University, 97 from Tribhuvan University and 49 from Sudur Paschim University. All of them are bachelor-level students of agriculture.

“We are trying to identify those killed in the incident. Efforts are being made to search for one missing student. The bodies will be brought back to Nepal soon after the identification is completed,” the embassy said.

The Nepal government has also requested the Israeli government that necessary arrangements be provided to the injured people, who are undergoing treatment.

The ministry said it was collaborating with the Israeli government and the embassy in Tel Aviv to bring back those nationals who want to return home.

“Nepal government is committed to evacuate its nationals from the war-torn region at the earliest,” said the statement issued by the ministry of foreign affairs.

“A meeting of the coordination mechanism formed under the leadership of Foreign Minister N P Saud is underway at the ministry to take stock of the situation in Israel, to identify Nepalese nationals and to make efforts for rescue Nepalese nationals if necessary,” read the statement issued by secretariat of foreign minister Saud.

Nepal’s main opposition CPN-UML has also asked Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ to talk to his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to rescue the Nepalis, the Kathmandu Post newspaper reported.

“Issuing statements and informing the House is not enough. The government must play the role of guardian of its citizens at this time of crisis,” said Padam Giri, the UML chief whip, in Parliament.

A cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister ‘Prachanda’ decided to observe a national day of mourning on Tuesday over the death of Nepalis in Israel.

The cabinet meeting also decided to provide Rs. one million compensation each to the families of the victims, Government spokesperson and Minister for Communication and Information Technology Rekha Sharma said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of students have taken out a silent procession carrying placards in Tikapur Municipality of Western Nepal, demanding immediate action from the government to rescue the Nepali students from the war-torn region of Israel, according to government-run Gorkhapatra daily.

Some students stranded in a bunker have sent a video message, asking the government to take immediate steps to evacuate them, a media report said.

“We are not safe in this bunker because earlier, our friends were brutally killed by the Hamas people entering into the bunker and we don’t want to have the same fate,” the students said in the video message, reported setopati.com, an online news portal.

The death toll in Israel is expected to rise as a large number of people have been critically wounded, according to the Israeli military.

Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist militant group which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007. The Gaza Strip is home to about 2.3 million people.

It is a 41km-long and 10km-wide territory surrounded by Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.

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