Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly confirmed Tuesday that Ottawa is planning to airlift Canadians out of Tel Aviv in "the coming days," as conflict between Israel and Hamas escalates.
Joly said the government aims to conduct the evacuation using aircraft from the Canadian Armed Forces, and it is working on additional options for people who are unable to reach the airport in Tel Aviv.
She said in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the flights will be available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, along with their spouses and their children.
"I know that this situation has been difficult. Many of you want to return home to your family and have no way to do so safely," Joly's statement said.
"We will help you."
More details will be available on Wednesday, Joly promised.
In the meantime, she said, Canadians who are in Israel should register with Global Affairs Canada. They are asked to contact the department at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-613-996-8885.
Global Affairs has urged Canadians in the region to limit their movements.
In a statement on Tuesday, the department said it had received 785 requests for help since the conflict began, adding that most inquiries related to travel advice and advisories, the status of flights and airports, the overall security situation and requests for information about family members' well-being or whereabouts.
Joly's statement did not mention the Gaza Strip.
Israel is hammering Gaza in retaliation for a surprise attack by Hamas militants on Israeli soil on Saturday, with fighting causing the deaths of at least 1,800 people so far. Friends and family have confirmed to The Canadian Press the deaths of two Canadians, 22-year-old Ben Mizrachi from Vancouver and 33-year-old Alexandre Look from Montreal, who died when gunman swarmed a music festival in southern Israel.
Some Canadians have been pleading for help to get their loved ones out of the Hamas-controlled territory as Israel closes off access.
In what the Israeli government is describing as a total siege, the entry of food, fuel and medicines into Gaza has been halted, with aid organizations sounding the alarm.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Conservative party had urged the federal Liberals to help Canadians in Israel, accusing the government of "consular and diplomatic failures."
A statement from the party's foreign-affairs critic, Michael Chong, said members of Parliament were hearing "too many stories" from Canadians who were reaching out for assistance but getting no answers.
Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre have signalled their staunch support for Israel, condemning the Hamas attack that initiated hostilities on the weekend.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 10, 2023.