The first U.S. flight evacuating American citizens out of war-torn Israel landed in Greece on Friday, a State Department official confirmed.
Matthew Miller, a State Department spokesperson, shared the news on X, saying that the first chartered flight landed in Athens.
“While many U.S. citizens are departing Israel on commercial transportation, the State Department is chartering flights to provide additional options and capacity,” Miller wrote. “Our first flight carrying U.S. citizens and their immediate family members from Israel is wheels down in Athens.”
“A big thank you to everyone involved in making this possible. Our work continues,” he added.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby first announced the news to charter flights for American citizens in Israel on Thursday.
Kirby said the U.S. government is “acutely aware” of the limited availability on commercial flights out of Israel and U.S. citizens who may want to depart.
“The president has asked his team to ensure that we are assisting U.S. citizens who do want to leave Israel and providing them with a safe means of doing that,” he said. “So beginning tomorrow, the United States government will arrange charter flights to provide transportation from Israel to sites in Europe.”
Kirby also said that the U.S. government is “exploring other options” by “land and by sea.”
“They’re still working through some of the details of that, to assist U.S. citizens and their immediate family members who have, for whatever reason, not been able to provide commercial transit out of the country,” Kirby added. “And I would add that we’re also exploring other options to expand the capacity of doing this, including exploring whether it’s possible to help Americans leave by land and by sea.”
Kirby made the announcement of the evacuation flights after saying that 27 Americans have now been confirmed killed in the Israel-Hamas war, and that 14 remain unaccounted for.
“Sadly, five more families have now gotten the worst possible news that any family can conceive of getting. And we’re going to stay in touch with them as appropriate,” Kirby said. “Same goes for those family members of those who are unaccounted for and by unaccounted for, we mean that. We don’t know where they are. They don’t know where they are.
Fox News Digital’s Greg Norman contributed to this report.