Israel-Palestine war: All citizens accounted for, Kenya says

Tuesday October 10 2023
Gaza City's skyline during an Israeli air strike

A plume of black smoke rises above Gaza City's skyline during an Israeli air strike on October 8, 2023. PHOTO | AFP


Kenya says it has accounted for all its nationals in Israel, even though officials say they have opened lines for distress calls.

Roseline Njogu, the Principal Secretary for Diaspora Affairs, said no Kenyan living or working in Israel has been hurt, even as the rocket battles continued in Gaza between Israeli forces and the Hamas militant group.

“I am glad to report that there are no casualties among our people. All our people are accounted for,” she told Nation.Africa on Tuesday.

“The government of Kenya continues to monitor the situation. We are in touch with our diaspora in that space and are maintaining contact through our Embassy (in Tel Aviv) on the ground. Plans are in place to evacuate as needed.”

Hamas launched a series of rockets into Israel on Saturday, touching off a spate of violence that had by Tuesday seen 900 Israelis and more than 600 Palestinians killed.

Read: Israel says at 'war' after rocket barrages, militant infiltration


Israeli embassy in Nairobi

Kenyans in Israel are mainly students, those on religious pilgrimage or short scientific trips, according to the Israeli embassy in Nairobi.

Kenya’s embassy in Tel Aviv had shared emergency contacts, advising those seeking evacuation to email responders at [email protected] or call +254114757002, +972549060910 and +972547075958.

Ms Njogu said evacuation plans were in place, although she added that such responses will normally involve other government agencies.

The Israeli government has vowed to flatten Hamas, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowing a total “war” on Hamas by blockading the Gaza Strip, a signal that the violence may persist for the coming days.

On Tuesday, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said it would forcibly evacuate civilians in targeted parts of Gaza as it hunts down Hamas militants, who had surprised Israel by attacking its civilian sites on Saturday.

Read: Hamas threatens to kill Israeli hostages

Liable for war crimes

Meanwhile, both sides could be liable for war crimes, according to the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and Israel.

The Commission said on Tuesday it was “gravely concerned with Israel’s latest attack on Gaza and Israel’s announcement of a complete siege on Gaza involving the withholding of water, food, electricity and fuel which will undoubtedly cost civilian lives and constitutes collective punishment.”

The Commission said it has been collecting and preserving evidence of war crimes committed by all sides since October 7, 2023, when Hamas launched a complex attack on Israel and Israeli forces retaliated with airstrikes in Gaza.

The Commission, however, urged the Israeli security forces and Palestinian armed groups to adhere strictly to international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Hamas was accused, on Saturday, of attacking a party inside Israel where civilians were making merry. Israel responded by shelling residential sites in Gaza.