The State Department announces a plan to transfer Americans from Israel
The White House said that charter flights to Europe will be available starting Friday.
The White House announced on Thursday that the US State Department will arrange charter flights for US citizens currently in Israel.
Details of the flights are still being worked out, but those citizens will be flown from Israel “to locations in Europe” starting Friday, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
“I would add that we are also exploring other options to expand the ability to do this, including exploring whether it is possible to help Americans leave by land and sea,” he added.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement that the administration expects these initial travel options to “facilitate the safe departure of thousands of American citizens weekly.”
“The overall security situation, the availability and reliability of commercial transportation, and demand from American citizens will all impact the duration of this departure assistance,” he said.
“Senior State Department officials are actively working with airlines and international partners on how best to provide additional options to American citizens seeking to leave Israel or continue traveling to the United States,” Miller added.
The US Embassy in Israel sent a message to the Americans warning them that “it will take some time to schedule an appointment for everyone who wishes to leave.”
The message indicated that the expatriates will be transported by air to Athens, Greece, or Frankfurt, Germany, or by sea from Haifa to Cyprus.
“You will not be able to choose your destination. We will assign you the next available flight or ship,” the embassy said.
The embassy said that pets will not be allowed on board flights.
Expatriates will have to “sign an agreement to make payments to the US government prior to departure,” as required by US law, and make their own arrangements for residency in any country they arrive in, according to the embassy.
Delta Air Lines said it is cooperating with the US government to help organize flights.
United Airlines said it is “in close contact” with the State Department as it looks to add charter flights for Americans in Israel.
The airline announced Wednesday that it will add flights from Athens to Newark to help travelers in the area. United said Thursday it has added additional flights and set fares between Athens and Newark, and will also use larger planes for its Athens-to-Washington flight.
American Airlines said it is also working with the State Department.
“At this time, we have seats available at European airports that offer the capacity to connect from Israel and we will continue to coordinate with the US State Department on any additional capacity needs – either through operating larger aircraft or adding flights,” the airline said. a permit.
On Wednesday, the State Department raised its travel advisory for Israel and the West Bank to Level 3, “Reconsider Travel,” due to “terrorism and civil unrest,” and currently has a “Do Not Travel” advisory for Gaza.
ABC News’ Matt Gutman and Amanda Miley contributed to this report.