On Saturday 7 October, at approximately 06:30 local time, a conflict erupted between Hamas fighters based in the Gaza Strip and Israel. The responsibility for this conflict was claimed by Palestinian Hamas fighters. Besides launching rockets into Israel, Hamas fighters from Gaza also engaged in gunfire in the Southern district city of Sderot. The scale of this Hamas fighter infiltration was unprecedented for Israel. Other areas targeted by Hamas included the towns of Kfar Aza, Sufa, Nahal Oz, Magen, Be’eri, and the Re’im military base, all located in the Southern District.
More than 2,000 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, reaching areas not only in the Southern District but also further north, including Ashkelon in the Southern District, places in the Tel Aviv District, and the Jerusalem District.
On 8 October at 08:38 CET, the International SOS Assistance Centre received a request from the Security Director of an education team deployed in Ramallah. This team of four individuals, holding multiple nationalities found themselves in a complex situation in Ramallah, Palestine, necessitating urgent assistance.
The International SOS Crisis Management Team collaborated closely with the Security Director of the education team to address their request. This included arranging for armored security ground transfer to either the Jordanian border, where they could catch a flight out of Amman, or to Tel-Aviv, depending on the evolving situation. Key considerations included the multiple nationalities and different passport holders among the team, which posed challenges in developing an evacuation plan.
It was crucial to factor in the closure of borders on 8 October when formulating the evacuation plan, ensuring the safety and minimal exposure of the team members. On the morning of 9 October, reliable sources on the ground confirmed that the borders were open, enabling a secure escort via the Jordanian border (King Hussein Bridge), followed by transportation to Amman for evacuation by commercial aircraft.
The Communications Cell within the Crisis Management Team serves as the bridge between the Planning Cell and client decision-makers. This team articulates risks and aligns Plans of Action (POAs), facilitating swift approval from the client's Authorized Person to ensure the rapid execution of plans when opportunities arise. Throughout the incident, they maintained close contact with the lead traveller in Ramallah. Ensuring that all persons feel safe and supported was of utmost importance, as it helped when making informed decisions and minimize their exposure to the rapidly evolving crisis.
The request for assistance and evacuation was successfully executed in less than 24 hours.