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7 Pinoys still missing in Israel

An overseas Filipino worker was reportedly among the civilians abducted by Hamas militants in Israel while 29 others were initially reported missing following the massive attack on Israel over the weekend.

Philippine Ambassador to Tel Aviv Pedro Laylo Jr., in an advisory posted on Facebook, said of the 29 missing Filipinos, 22 have been rescued by Israeli security forces while seven remained unaccounted for.

“[The 22] have been transferred to a safer area, and are now housed in hotels,” Laylo said.

COST OF WAR. Palestinians evacuate a body following an Israeli airstrike on the Sousi mosque in Gaza City on Oct. 9, as Israel continued to battle Hamas fighters and massed tens of thousands of troops and heavy armor around the Gaza Strip after vowing a massive blow over the militants’ surprise attack. AFP

The ambassador said the Embassy also received a video “showing a man being held by armed individuals, most likely brought to Gaza.”

“A Filipina reached out and said that she recognized her husband on the said video,” Laylo said.

“While it cannot independently verify the man’s identity based on the video alone, the Embassy considers the report of the wife as compelling and urgently relayed the information to the Israel authorities.”

Of the rescued OFWs, one is being treated at a hospital for moderate injuries sustained during the rescue, Laylo said.

Another was initially treated for smoke inhalation and is now resting in a hotel in Tel Aviv, he added.

“Seven remain unaccounted for and cannot be contacted via their mobile numbers and social media accounts. The Embassy is working non-stop with Israeli security authorities and community contacts to ascertain their condition,” Laylo said.

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration head Arnell Ignacio earlier identified five of the unaccounted OFWs as Grace Cabrera, Shelly Morillo, Norilyn Babadilla, Gallenor Leandro Pacheco, and Loreta Alacre.

According to the DFA, there are close to 30,000 Filipinos in Israel, but most of them are not in the southern portion near the Gaza Strip.

The embassy earlier advised OFWs living near the Gaza Strip and south Israel to follow the safety guidelines released by the Home Front Command through an instructional video.

For his part, Senator Christopher Go, vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers, called on the government to conduct a swift and comprehensive inventory of all affected OFWs.

“The safety of our kababayans is paramount. I urge the Department of Migrant Workers, Department of Foreign Affairs, and POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) to act swiftly and ensure that every Filipino worker is accounted for,” said Go.

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