Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has canceled his planned trip to Israel after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s plane was evacuated on the Ben Gurion Airport runway following a rocket attack on Tuesday evening.
Greek government sources said the decision to cancel Mitsotakis’ visit comes as a result of security concerns, given the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel, now in its twelfth day.
On Tuesday, State Minister Akis Skertsos said in comments to state broadcaster ERT that “a visit by the prime minister is indeed being considered. We will see when it will take place.” Skertsos added it is important that “we all understand that Greece has a role to play.”
“[Greece] is an interlocutor of Israel, of the Israeli government,” he stressed.
Leader’s aides forced to get on floor at Israel airport
Pictures and videos posted on social media show how aides and journalists traveling with the German leader had to hastily leave the plane and take cover by getting down on the runway. Scholz was reportedly evacuated to a shelter.
The final humiliation. Perhaps Scholz has now grasped the 'situation'?
Photos of the German Chancellor's entourage lying on the tarmac at Ben Gurion airport pic.twitter.com/XDNjQZC5lu
— Jack Straw (@JackStr42679640) October 18, 2023
“I personally saw explosions in the sky as the Israeli Iron Dome [air defense system] intercepted two missiles,” Robin Alexander, the deputy editor-in-chief of German daily Welt wrote on X, formerly Twitter, referring to rockets intercepted by the Iron Dome.
“Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s plane had to be evacuated at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday evening due to rocket attacks. Scholz and those flying with him were able to board the plane a few minutes later, following an additional security check, according to Bild” pic.twitter.com/2KCHGNA8KL
— Clown (@DanaSLJL) October 18, 2023
Scholz and those flying with him were able to board the plane a few minutes later, following an additional security check, according to Bild.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Arrival…. to scare him just enough.🤷♀️🤡 pic.twitter.com/Bw3EQIxn4V
— Lepa⚜️ (@lepanigeria) October 18, 2023
German Chancellor expresses solidarity with Israel
The Chancellor visited Israel on Tuesday to express his solidarity with the country following Hamas’ brutal terror attack, deescalate tensions in the region, and improve humanitarian aid for Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
The evacuation of his plane happened just as Scholz had planned to take off toward Cairo, where he is supposed to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday.
Earlier on Tuesday evening, Scholz had issued a warning to Iran and Hezbollah to not intervene in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. “It would be a grave, an unforgivable mistake,” the chancellor said during press statements with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.
The Israeli Premier reminded the German leader of atrocities against Jews, such as the Nazi massacres of Babi Yar in Ukraine in 1941. Hamas’ recent bloody attack, Netanyahu said, had been among “the worst crimes committed against Jews since the Holocaust.”
He also added that “Hamas are the new Nazis.”