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Maldives Announces Ban On Israelis Entering Country

The Maldives says it will ban the entry of Israelis amid public anger in the predominantly Muslim archipelago over the war in Gaza.

The office of Maldives’ President Mohamed Muizzu said the country’s cabinet had decided to change laws to prevent Israeli passport holders from entering the country.

It also said the president will appoint a special envoy to assess Palestinian needs and launch a fundraising campaign.

Image: Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu. Pic: AP In response, Israel’s foreign ministry recommended its citizens – and those with dual citizenship – do not travel to the Maldives.

It also recommended those currently there consider leaving.

“For Israeli citizens already in the country, it is recommended to consider leaving, because if they find themselves in distress for any reason, it will be difficult for us to assist,” the ministry said.

Some 528 Israeli nationals visited the Maldives in the first four months of this year, down from 4,644 in the same period in 2023, according to Maldives government data.

Nearly 11,000 Israelis visited the archipelago last year, accounting for 0.6% of total tourist arrivals.

It comes after tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Tel Aviv over the weekend to call for the resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the immediate release of hostages.

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Thousands demand Netanyahu’s resignation An estimated 120,000 people took to the streets to call on the governing coalition to accept a ceasefire deal outlined by US President Joe Biden on Friday, in what was believed to have been the largest demonstration against Mr Netanyahu’s government.

The deal would see the staggered release of hostages captured during Hamas’s 7 October attack on Israel in return for the gradual withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

Read more:
What is the ceasefire deal and how would it work?
Biden’s Gaza gamble – diplomatic masterstroke?

Meanwhile, Israel is expanding its offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah amid growing criticism over the huge cost in civilian lives and destruction caused by its nearly eight-month war with Hamas.

Israel says around 100 hostages are still being held in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 others.