Indians in Israel asked to relocate from border areas as missile hit kills Kerala man

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India has asked all of its citizens in Israel to move from the north and south border regions to safer areas after a man from Kerala was killed in a missile strike in Margaliot on Monday afternoon.

Identified by Indian media as Pat Nibin Maxwell, the 31-year-old was working in an orchard in the northern Israeli village when an anti-tank missile allegedly fired by the Lebanese Hezbollah struck the area, killing the Kollam resident and injuring several others.

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Among the injured are two other Indian citizens also from Kerala, and four foreign workers, according to news reports, who are currently receiving medical care, the Israeli Embassy in India confirmed in a statement.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the death of one Indian national and the injury of two others due to a cowardly terror attack launched by Shia terror organization Hezbollah, on peaceful agriculture workers who were cultivating an orchard at the northern village of Margaliot yesterday early afternoon,” the Israeli embassy said.

“Our prayers and thoughts naturally go to the families of the bereaved and those of the injured. Israeli Medical institutions are completely at the service of the injured who are being treated by our very best medical staff. Israel regards equally all nationals, Israeli or foreign, who are injured or killed due to terrorism. We will be there to support the families and offer them assistance,” it added.

“Our countries, who are sadly well versed in civilian loss, stand united in hopes of a speedy recovery for the injured and solace for the family of the bereaved.”

Maxwell is survived by his wife, who is seven months pregnant, and a young daughter, according to the ANI news agency. He arrived in Israel a few months ago on a work permit after having worked at a labor supply company in the UAE, according to the Indian Express. The report added that he had quit his job in December to move to Israel when the country opened visas for Indian workers.

His brother is also reportedly working in Israel.

Maxwell’s body is expected to be repatriated to India within four days, The Hindu reported, citing sources.

Indian issues advisory

Following his death and the injuries sustained by Indian nationals, the country’s embassy in Tel Aviv issued an advisory.

“In view of the prevailing security situation and local safety advisories, all Indian nationals in Israel, especially those working in or visiting border areas in the north and south, are advised to relocate to safe areas within Israel,” it said in a social media statement on X, formerly Twitter.

“The embassy remains in touch with the Israeli authorities to ensure the safety of all our nationals,” it added, calling on Indian citizens to circulate an emergency contact number and the advisory through local networks.

In a program supported by Israel and New Delhi, many Indians are actively applying for jobs in the middle eastern country, where the threat to life from the war with Hamas is preferred to the lack of well-paid opportunities at home.

A shortage of workers in Israel spiked after it withdrew hundreds of thousands of work permits from Palestinians who played a key role in the Israeli economy.

The Israeli government hopes to attract foreign workers from India, China, Sri Lanka, and other countries to fill the gap.

The war

Following the March 4 attack, the Israeli military said it had “struck the source of the launch” in Lebanon in response.

The Israeli military and Lebanese armed groups have been engaged in periodic aerial and ground attacks since Israel launched retaliatory bombardments on the Gaza Strip following the October 7 attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas, which killed 1,200 Israelis and took 200 others hostage.

In Israel’s ongoing military response, over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed, which Gaza health authorities say are mostly civilians. Israel’s indiscriminate onslaught is expected to crescendo with an assault on Rafah, which experts and NGOs say will decimate any chances of survival for the millions of internally displaced.

The escalation is also worrying foreign powers who anticipate a region-wide escalation that can see Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and more involved in the fight that is currently mostly isolated to Israel and Gaza.

The fighting along the Israel-Lebanon border has displaced tens of thousands of people on both sides and killed at least 296 people in Lebanon, mostly Hezbollah fighters but also 46 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

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