Nepalis light candles in plea for return of loved ones from Israel

By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Nepalis lit candles near the prime minister’s office on Tuesday, calling for the return of loved ones from Israel where at least 10 were killed in the attack by Palestinian group Hamas, with others still in hiding in at least one bunker.

“Bring back our brothers and sisters now,” one placard read. “Unite in Light for Nepali lives,” said another.

Officials say about 4,500 Nepalis work in Israel, mostly as caregivers, and about 300 are studying there under a “learn and earn” programme.

Narayan Bahadur Kumal said his son, Chandan, 25, who is studying agriculture in Israel, had survived Saturday’s attack but had been hiding out in a bunker. He had called his father and said “You need not worry – I am safe”, Narayan said.

“But seeing the condition in videos it is very painful. Up to 20-25 people have been kept in one small bunker. I want the government to rescue him as early as possible,” he said.

Sewa Lamsal, spokesperson for Nepal’s ministry of foreign affairs, said the government was working to bring the bodies back and evacuate those who want to return.

She said about 300 people had registered with the government for evacuation.

Israel’s embassy in Washington said the death toll from Hamas’ weekend attacks had surpassed 1,000. The victims were overwhelmingly civilians, gunned down in homes, on streets or at a dance party.

Gaza’s health ministry said Israel’s retaliatory strikes had killed at least 770 people and wounded more than 4,000.

(Editing by Nick Macfie)