Israel-Hamas conflict: India launches ‘Operation Ajay’ to repatriate Indians

India has launched Operation Ajay to facilitate the return of its citizens from war-hit Israel after the surprise attack by the Hamas group in Gaza.

Families gather at UNRWA’s New Gaza Boys’ School, seeking shelter from heavy airstrikes.

There are 18,000 Indians in Israel.

"Special charter flights and other arrangements are being put in place. Fully committed to the safety and well-being of our nationals abroad," Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said in a post on X.

The first lot of Indians who had registered to return have been notified and they will be put on the first special flight tomorrow to India, the country's embassy in Israel said in another post.

"The Embassy has emailed the first lot of registered Indian citizens for the special flight tomorrow. Messages to other registered people will follow for subsequent flights," the post read.

Israel has formed an emergency government to conduct the war against Hamas, five days after the group's fighters killed civilians in their homes and on the streets in an unprecedented assault on Israeli soil.

Thousands have died over the last five days, with Israel responding to the killings with a massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip which Hamas rules.

Israel has massed its military forces around the besieged Palestinian enclave in what appears to be preparation for a possible ground invasion.

Hamas also took around 150 hostages including at least 14 Thais, two Mexicans, and an unknown number of Americans and Germans, according to Israel.