A group of some hundred Icelandic travellers has safely arrived in Jordan after a two-hour bus journey from Jerusalem, RÚV reports.
Many in the group of Icelandic travellers, in addition to some Faroese travellers, were on an eight-day tour scheduled to last until Saturday, October 14. Their plans were disrupted due to the recent outbreak of hostilities in the region, when Hamas launched one of its largest offensives against Israel in recent history on October 7.
The group was originally supposed to be evacuated from Tel Aviv. However, safety concerns have led many airlines to cease flights to and from Tel Aviv. The decision was instead made to evacuate the group to Amman, Jordan, from where they would be flown back to Iceland.
Sigurður Kolbeinsson, the organiser of the tour in question, stated to Morgunblaðið: “It was a challenging situation, and we worked all night on this plan with Civil Defense, Icelandair, and our Israeli partner, Columbus. There were uncertainties in this because the landing permit was not obtained until just before 11 o’clock. We also had some trouble getting a bus to Jordan because they are so busy due to the influx of refugees here. However, we have now entered the country […] We just need to show the police that we have passport stamps.”
Now, the group is reported to have arrived safely in Jordan after a two-hour bus ride from Jerusalem. Sigurður stated to RÚV that the group was safe and in good spirits: “Everyone is safe, and everyone is relieved. We have made it out of Israel […] Everyone is on their way home, back to their families. We are taking off at 21:20 local time, which will be 18:20 Icelandic time. We will have a layover in Rome on our way home, where the crew will rest, and another crew will take over. It will be a very brief stopover. I understand that the estimated arrival in Iceland will be sometime between two and three in the morning, I don’t know exactly, but that doesn’t matter to anyone,” said Sigurður.
Sigurður also expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Icelandair, and Israeli tour organisers for their aid in getting the group to safety.