New Zealand government organising special flight to get people out of Israel

The government is putting on a special flight to get New Zealanders and other eligible Pacific people out of Tel Aviv.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta said the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories remained highly volatile so any New Zealanders who can get out of the region on commercial airlines should do so.

On Saturday, Palestinian Islamic group Hamas launched an unexpected attack on Israel which saw rockets fired and gunmen cross the border.

In response, Israel began firing back. More than 1000 people have lost their lives and even more are wounded.

The initial government flight, on Etihad Airways, will depart in the coming days and arrive in Abu Dhabi, but there were a limited number of seats, she said.

"Passengers will be responsible for onwards travel from Abu Dhabi to New Zealand, including costs incurred for that leg.

"There is only a limited number of seats we can secure at any given time, so it is important that those wishing to leave, who already have commercial bookings, do not forgo those tickets for these flights because there is no guarantee a seat can be assigned."

Mahuta said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was in direct contact with Kiwis and eligible people in the area.

"Work remains ongoing, alongside partners, on how we can support those New Zealanders having difficulty securing flights out.

"We encourage all New Zealanders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to register on Safetravel in order to receive the most up to date government information, and ensure all their details are accurate and up to date."