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Samoans stranded in Israel arrive safely in Fiji

Samoans and Fijians deplaning in Suva

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Families and friends in the Pacific and around the world are rejoicing after Fiji Airways successfully landed in Nadi, Fiji with a planeload of international travelers who had been stranded in Israel since last Saturday, October 7, 2023, amid a raging war between Hamas and Israel.

The war broke out as Israel was wrapping up the seven-day-long Jewish festival of Sukkot, with many of the travelers there to take part in the Feast of Tabernacles.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka greeted all those who returned in a special welcome ceremony held at the Nadi International Airport.

He said their safe return was a testament to the resilience of his nation and the Fijian spirit “that binds us together” and pointed to the collective strength of his nation in times of need as a source of great pride and unity.

The Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to those involved in bringing the Fijians back to their homeland on a flight that departed from Ben Gurion Airport earlier on Wednesday.

Among the passengers were 200 Fiji Agricultural Institute’s technology students, who were pursuing studies in agriculture in Israel, as well as a group who had journeyed to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles — including 8 Samoans, several Americans, Canadians Filippinos, Australians and New Zealanders.