Cyprus plans for Israel-Hamas war fallout

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Cyprus is entering crisis mode to prepare for a widening fallout from the Israel-Hamas conflict that threatens to spread into Lebanon.

Some 268 individuals have arrived from Israel as part of the Estia plan, a humanitarian rescue mechanism to provide a safe transfer hub for foreign nationals evacuating Israel.

The government affirmed on Friday the plan remains operational as authorities anticipate a surge in people looking to evacuate the country in the days ahead.

Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos convened a ministerial crisis management group meeting on Friday involving the ministers of defence, transport, justice, and tourism.

During the meeting, the group assessed the implementation of the Estia plan, and discussions focused on the potential consequences of conflict spreading to Lebanon, which could result in a significant influx of refugees into Cyprus.

Cyprus has escalated security measures at entry points, checkpoints, embassies, places of worship, and other high-risk areas, including Jewish establishments.

There is now a continuous presence of relevant service representatives at the Zenon coordination centre in Larnaca, Paphos airport, and all ports of the Republic.

Furthermore, the United States is launching charter flights to assist its citizens in leaving Israel, following extensive negotiations with the Israeli government and airlines.

Cyprus is set to play a role in this evacuation, as boats will operate between the Israeli port city of Haifa and the island to facilitate the departure of American citizens.

Flights are also being organised between Tel Aviv, Frankfurt, and Athens.

A cruise ship departing from Haifa port has transported approximately 300 EU citizens to Larnaca, with most passengers hailing from Hungary.

Another 150 Israelis are expected to board the same ship to return to Israel.

Commercial flights from Cyprus to Israel have ceased, with Cypriot airline TUS Airways becoming the last carrier to suspend its services between the two countries on Friday.

Cyprus Airways discontinued their flights on Thursday, and Hungarian carrier Wizz Air had already suspended theirs last Sunday.

At least 1,300 people have died, and 3,227 others have been injured in Israel after the militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented incursion from air, land and sea on Saturday.

In Gaza, at least 1,799 people have been killed in retaliatory strikes from Israel, with an estimated 7,388 more injured, with those numbers expected to climb.