Mexico deploys planes to Israel to return nationals

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The Mexican army is carrying out a humanitarian flight aimed at bringing home nationals from Israel amid the attack on the country by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, the defence ministry said on Monday.

An unknown number of hostages were taken by Hamas after it launched a surprise attack in Israel on Saturday. Two Mexicans are believed to have been among those taken by the group, Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena said on Sunday.

Mexico said on Monday some 5,000 nationals are in Israel.

Some 300 Mexicans have asked to leave, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told a press conference on Monday.

The plane leaving on Monday has a capacity of about 170 passengers. A second plane was to leave later in the day.

Elsewhere in Latin America, Peru’s foreign ministry said two citizens have been reported missing, while one Panamanian citizen is also among those missing, according to local authorities.

Two Paraguayan citizens have also been reported missing, the country’s foreign ministry said.

(Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz, Raul Cortes Fernandez and Valentine Hilaire, editing by Deborah Kyvrikosaios and Angus MacSwan)