Penny Wong, Foreign Minister: Good morning everybody. Thanks for being here. Just wanted to say overnight we had around 250 Australians who were able to leave Tel Aviv for Dubai on three flights. Two RAAF flights and one charter. I want to thank the Department of Foreign Affairs officials and the Australian Defence Force for facilitating those flights. This brings the total to about 1200 Australians who have sought and been able to – and their families who've been able to depart Israel.
We are still working on seeking to assist those Australians who are currently in Gaza. This is a very difficult situation, a very frightening situation and we are working with international partners including the US and Egypt and Israel to try and ensure safe passage for Australians. As yet, as people would know, the situation in Gaza is extremely difficult. Happy to take questions. Sorry about the bells.
Journalist: They love just testing them.
Foreign Minister: Bad timing.
Journalist: What is your message to Australians who are still in Israel? I saw you said that the people haven't got on the flights –
Foreign Minister: Yes, there were – there were people who registered for the flights who did not – chose not to depart. Obviously, that's their right. But we will be seeking to do a further flight today. But people should consider it's possible this is our last flight for the foreseeable future. You would have heard me say over the last few days to Australians in Israel, and there are many, if you wish to leave, do not wait for another option, leave now. Obviously, there are Australians, particularly dual citizens, who may not wish to leave and that's their right. But if people wish to leave, our message has been to leave now.
Journalist: Is there any update on the Lebanon situation?
Foreign Minister: Look, I issued yesterday updated travel advice to say to people, please consider whether or not your presence is required. Obviously there is always the risk that we are all trying to avert. The United States, the countries of the region are seeking to avert this spilling over, this conflict spilling over. That would be a bad thing for the region, a bad thing for the world and obviously be extremely risky for civilians in the region.
Journalist: Thanks Minister, appreciate it.
Foreign Minister: Thank you.
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