Airlines have grounded some flights between the UK and Tel Aviv and cruises have been diverted away from Israel following a series of terror attacks in areas of the south of the country.
Fighters from the Islamist group Hamas killed 700 Israelis, including at least 260 people attending a music festival, and abducted dozens of citizens on Saturday.
Israel has retaliated by firing rockets into the Palestinian enclave of Gaza,
The Foreign Office updated its travel advice on Sunday to warn against all but essential travel to Israel.
EasyJet suspended flights to Tel Aviv yesterday and its services remain grounded today; Virgin Atlantic has cancelled one of its two daily flights until 11 October, but it is still operating its second daily service; Wizz Air has cancelled flights until further notice, but British Airways is continuing to continuing to fly between the UK and Tel Aviv.
BA said: “We are continuing to monitor the situation in Israel very closely and have introduced a flexible booking policy, enabling customers to change their travel dates free of charge if they wish.
“Flights are currently planned to operate over the coming days with adjusted departures times.”
In a statement on its website, easyJet said: “Due to the evolving situation in Israel, we have paused our flight operations to and from Tel Aviv on the 8th and 9th of October.
“We will be contacting customers who are due to travel to Tel Aviv on these dates, with the email and SMS provided at the time of booking and check in.
“Any easyJet flight-only customers whose flights have been cancelled, will be able to request a voucher for the full value of their flight, a refund or transfer their flights free of charge for future travel.
“If you made your booking through a travel agent, please contact your travel agency for help with your full travel plans. If you need further assistance and your agent is unable to help you, please contact our customer service team. Remember to let your tour operator or travel agent know about any changes you make.
“If you are due to fly to Tel Aviv over the next few days we recommend that you continue to check the status of your flight on our Flight Tracker for real time information before travelling to the airport.”
Virgin Atlantic has grounded one of its two daily flights from London Heathrow until 11 October and it is allowing passengers on all its flights between the UK and Tel Aviv up to 15 October to cancel with a full refund.
Royal Caribbean Cruises has cancelled two short cruises today and on 13 October on Rhapsody of the Seas, which is homeported in Haifa, Israel. Other cruise lines, including Celebrity, Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America Line have diverted cruises due to call at Haifa this week to Cyprus or Turkey instead.
What does the Foreign Office say about travel to Israel?
In an update to its travel advice yesterday, the Foreign Office said: “There is currently a large-scale conflict happening in areas of southern Israel close to the border with Gaza. Rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel and there are an unknown number of armed terrorists present in the area. There are reports of them shooting people and taking hostages in the peripheral area around Gaza. If you are in an area affected by the fighting you should follow the instructions of Israeli Home Front Command.
“The Israeli government has declared a state of emergency across the whole country. International borders (air and land) in Israel and the OPTs (Occupied Palestinian Territories) could close at short notice.
“You should check with your airlines and travel insurers before travelling. You are advised to consult Israeli Home Front Command for more information: www.oref.org.il/en or call 104 if you are in Israel.
“British nationals requiring consular assistance should call the following numbers: +972 (0)3 725 1222 or +972 (2) 5414100. If you experience technical difficulties with these or if you are in the UK, call +44 20 7008 5000.
“If you are a British National in Israel or the OPTs, please register your presence which includes recording your up to date contact information. You should fill in this form for every member of your family or group who is a British National. Your registration will allow us to share any updates to this travel advice.”