On Sunday, Germany’s Foreign Office issued a travel advisory for Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Lebanon in anticipation of a potential Israeli ground incursion into Gaza. A prior warning had already been issued for the Gaza Strip.
Travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories was “strongly discouraged.”
The guidance comes after large-scale attacks carried out by the Hamas militant group, which is designated a terror group by Germany, the United States and other nations, in Israel last weekend. Around 1,300 Israelis, as well as other foreign nationals, were killed in the attacks.
The Israeli military has launched retaliatory missile strikes on the Gaza Strip killing more than 2,300 Palestinians over the course of the week.
A travel warning makes it easier for tourists to cancel trips they have already booked free of charge but it does not equate to a travel ban.
Evacuations from Israel
German airline Lufthansa halted special flights carrying German passengers from Israel on Saturday citing security concerns. Some 2,800 German nationals have been evacuated since Hamas launched the attacks on October 7.
The German Defense Ministry, together with the Foreign Office, announced on Sunday afternoon that 160 people have been brought to Germany in three Air Force planes in the past 24 hours. The ministries said there could be further evacuations from the conflict region if necessary.
A number of pro-Palestine demonstrations took place across Germany on Friday and Saturday, in the cities of Düsseldorf, Braunschweig, Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and Cologne.
No significant incidents were reported, although the protests in Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt were broken up by police.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a ban on all Hamas-related activities in Germany on Thursday, while some cities like Berlin and Munich have banned pro-Palestine demonstrations altogether out of concerns over antisemitism.
Friedrich Merz, Germany’s Christian Democratic Union parliamentary group leader, told German TV show Welt am Sonntag that he is calling on Muslim groups in Germany to distance themselves “without any ifs or buts” from the Hamas attacks in Israel.