Traumatised Nepali survivors of attack in Israel return home

By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Traumatised and relieved Nepali nationals who survived the attack by Palestinian group Hamas were received by their loved ones on Friday as they returned home aboard the first special flight from Israel.

A plane carrying 254 Nepalis from Israel landed in the capital city Kathmandu before dawn on Friday, nearly a week after attacks by Hamas militants that killed more than 1,300 Israelis, mostly civilians.

All those evacuated on Friday were students who were studying agriculture and forestry in Israel under a “learn and earn” programme.

Sobha Paswan, 25, who was working in a capsicum farm, had just woken up on Saturday for a yoga session when she saw “many, many missiles” fired and exploding in the sky.

“It is a lifetime trauma because we lost our Nepali friends,” Paswan said, adding that she does not plan to go back to Israel again.

Nepal’s Foreign Minister N.P. Saud said bodies of 10 Nepalis killed in the attack would be brought back as soon as the Israeli government completed the formalities and handed them over.

About 4,500 Nepalis work in Israel, mostly as caregivers.

Paswan said she stayed inside a bunker with other friends for three days, even as firing continued outside.

Dhan Bahadur Chaudhary, who was injured in a grenade attack inside his bunker, saw two of his colleagues die after being shot, while others had lost legs or limbs.

“Some of my friends died due to excessive bleeding,” said the 26-year-old Chaudhury, who was rescued nine hours after the attack.

“I can’t sleep at night… I see only blood everywhere… I see streams of blood,” added Chaudhary, who came out from the airport in a wheel chair.

Authorities said three Nepalis were still in hospitals in Israel with severe injuries, while one was still missing.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Michael Perry)