SHILLONG: A group of 27 pilgrims from Meghalaya, including Rajya Sabha member and NPP state president WR Kharlukhi, his wife, and his daughter, find themselves caught in the midst of escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine, with tensions rising in Bethlehem, Jerusalem.
The pilgrims, who had embarked on a spiritual journey to the holy city, now face an uncertain situation as hostilities continue. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the pilgrims are considering making their way to Egypt on Sunday, seeking safer ground.
Meghalaya’s Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma, expressed concern about the citizens of his state who are stranded due to the ongoing conflict. He assured the public that the government is actively working to ensure their safe return. “I am in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs to ensure their safe passage back home,” Chief Minister Sangma was quoted as saying in the press.
The state government has pledged to leave no stone unturned in its efforts to secure the safe return of the pilgrims, prioritising their well-being during this challenging time.
The conflict in the region has taken a grim turn, with a surprise attack by Hamas militants from Gaza leading to casualties among Israeli civilians on Saturday. At least 200 Israelis lost their lives, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare a state of “war” and vow to exact an “unprecedented price” from the enemy.
Hamas’s attack resulted in the capture of several Israelis, both civilians and soldiers, according to reports in the international press. Israelis have been sharing photos of their loved ones who have gone missing in the wake of these events, appealing for assistance in their safe return.
As the situation escalates, with Hamas launching rockets from Gaza and infiltrating Israeli territory, the conflict continues to claim lives. Israeli officials reported at least 300 deaths and more than 1,500 wounded.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza confirmed the loss of at least 232 lives and over 1,600 injuries among Palestinians on Saturday.