Rescue flight carrying 206 Israelis takes off from Nigeria

The flight was organized by the Israeli Embassy in Nigeria with the goal of removing hundreds of Israelis who were left stranded after the closure of airports in Nigeria and its neighboring countries

Passengers wait to board a rescue flight from Nigeria back home to Israel. (photo credit: ISRAELI EMBASSY IN NIGERIA)
Passengers wait to board a rescue flight from Nigeria back home to Israel.
(photo credit: ISRAELI EMBASSY IN NIGERIA)
A rescue flight carrying 206 Israeli travelers, employees of Israeli companies and their families took off from Abuja, Nigeria on Sunday afternoon.
The flight was organized by the Israeli Embassy in Nigeria with the goal of removing hundreds of Israelis who were left stranded after the closure of airports in Nigeria and its neighboring countries.
This is the first direct flight to travel from Nigeria to Israel. The company operating the flight, Air Peace, had planned to start direct commercial flights from Nigeria to Israel in March this year, but had to change its plans following the global coronavirus crisis.
The rescue flight is planned to fly above Chad, Sudan and Egypt in the shortest route possible to Israel, disregarding the security concerns normally relevant when flying above these countries.
The passengers, who boarded from two different airports, one in Lagos and one in Abuja, were joined by four Israelis who arrived from Abidjan on a private flight organized by the Israeli Embassy in the Ivory Coast.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that the flight was "another successful operation by Israeli envoys around the world, who succeed in bringing home Israeli civilians during the coronavirus crisis. We will do everything we can to bring back any Israeli who wants to return home. "

Early on Friday morning, an El Al flight took off from Costa Rica with 150 Israelis who were traveling in Central America.

On Thursday, El Al announced it would be stopping all commercial flights from coming in to Ben Gurion Airport, with a special exception being made for rescue flights.