Saturday, October 14, 2023

Operation NEON ended! Polish military evacuated a total of 1,504 people from Israel

WPolityce(.)pl / Polska-Zbrojna(.)pl: "Operation NEON has fulfilled its task. Polish soldiers evacuated 1,504 Polish citizens and people from other countries from Israel," the General Command of the Armed Forces announced on Saturday.

From October 8, the Polish military took part in the evacuation of Polish citizens who remained in Israel, attacked by Hamas. 

The State of Israel was attacked on October 7. As a result of the attack and the Israeli Defense Forces' fight against Hamas, air traffic over Israel was extremely limited. Flights were suspended, among others, by LOT Polish Airlines. This created a problem for an estimated 2,000 Polish citizens who were stuck in Israel. On Sunday, the authorities decided to start an evacuation with the participation of the Polish Air Force; the operation was codenamed "Neon."

Polish Air Force planes - three smaller C-295 Casa transports and two larger C-130 Hercules - performed five direct flights Warsaw - Tel Aviv - Warsaw and later the so-called air bridge, where planes flew between Crete and Tel Aviv. Twenty-seven such flights were performed. The airmen spent over 160 hours in the air, covering 42,000 kilometers. Eighty soldiers, pilots, navigators, on-board technicians, loadmasters, and an unspecified number of special forces troops took part in the operation.

Operation NEON has not been completed yet, as the planes are still on standby. Hercules and Casa planes remain in Crete. If there is a need to evacuate our citizens (…), we are prepared to act – wrote the deputy press secretary of the General Commander of the Armed Forces, Lt. Col. Magdalena Busz.

The spokeswoman also informed that Polish soldiers also evacuated 6 Bulgarian citizens.