Brussels, 16 October 2023 (TDI): A Belgian military plane (A400M) landed at Melsbroek Military Airport in Belgium after departing from Tel Aviv on October 15, 2023.

This special flight was organized by the Belgian Foreign and Defence Ministry to assist 105 people of which 92 were Belgian travelers who had registered on Travellers Online and 13 were citizens from other European Union member states through the European Solidarity Mechanism.

The Belgian government initiated this special flight to ensure the safe return of its citizens who were experiencing difficulties leaving the area, despite the availability of regular commercial flights. 

The Foreign Affairs Department expressed its gratitude to the Defense and other partners who collaborated to make this special flight possible and highlighted the importance of such cooperation in bringing citizens back home.

Through the European Solidarity Mechanism, in addition to the 92 Belgian travelers, 13 EU citizens from France, Romania, and Luxembourg received assistance and Belgium became the first EU country to activate this mechanism.

Foreign affairs officials in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have been actively working to support and provide information to Belgian citizens in the region, in consultation with their partners in Brussels.

Hadja Lahbib, the Foreign Minister of Belgium emphasized the significance of helping Belgian citizens stuck in the region who had registered on Travellers Online.

She appreciated the strong collaboration between the Foreign Affairs and Defense departments, which ensured the success of the special flight and the safe return of Belgian citizens.

She added that Belgium was the first city that initiated the European solidarity mechanism which also brought other European citizens to their homes.

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Furthermore, Minister Lahbib added that Belgium was the first country who initiate the European Solidarity Mechanism and also helped other European citizens return to their own countries.

She reaffirmed Belgium’s commitment to monitoring the situation on the ground and continually assisting fellow Belgians. In light of the ongoing conflict in the region. She called upon both parties to follow international rules, release hostages, and work towards a fair and lasting peace.