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Israelis in Ethiopia’s Gondar Urged to Shelter in Place Amid Intensifying Clashes

Foreign Ministry says it’s in touch with 50 Israeli nationals and another 60 people eligible for citizenship in the Ethiopian city, as state of emergency declared

The Foreign Ministry on Friday urged Israelis in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar to shelter in place, as Ethiopia’s Council of Ministers declared a state of emergency in the surrounding region after authorities pleaded for help amid intensifying clashes there between regional forces and the military.

This week, residents have reported fighting across the Amhara region as militia members attacked army units and protesters blocked roads. Flights to Gondar and another popular tourist town, Lalibela, have been suspended. Internet access has been affected.

In a travel advisory, the ministry called on Israelis in Gondar to remain at secure locations and try to maintain contact with the embassy in Addis Ababa, while saying those considering traveling there soon or elsewhere in Ethiopia should reconsider their plans. It also advised against travel to the Amhara region.

The ministry said it was in touch with 50 Israeli nationals in Gondar, along with another 60 people eligible for citizenship.

“I call on Israelis in the area to remain in a safe place,” Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in a statement.

He added that the Israeli embassy was working with the Ethiopian government and other diplomatic missions “to examine when and how it will be possible to leave the area.”

Ethiopia’s second most populous region has been gripped by instability since April, when federal authorities moved to disarm Amhara’s security forces following the end of the devastating two-year war in the neighboring Tigray region. Authorities last year also tried to dismantle the informal Amhara militia known as Fano.

The state of emergency bans several activities including protests. Violators face up to 10 years imprisonment. The decree also grants authorities the ability to detain suspects without a court order, conduct searches and impose curfews.

The order says the powers apply to the Amhara region but may be extended to other parts of Ethiopia if deemed necessary.

Source : The Times Of Israel