Updated to include death toll.
One Russian citizen has been killed and at least four others were missing following the Hamas Islamist group’s surprise weekend attack on Israel, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported Monday, citing the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv.
At least 800 people have died during the ground, air and sea attacks that caught Israel by surprise on Saturday. Another 500 Palestinians were killed in retaliatory Israeli strikes.
“According to information received from the Israeli side, one citizen of the Russian Federation is listed dead,” the embassy said, adding that it was in contact with the relatives.
The relatives of nine Russian citizens living in or visiting Israel have asked the Russian embassy for assistance in finding them, according to the state-run TASS news agency.
“Four of them are listed as missing by the Israeli side,” embassy spokeswoman Marina Ryazanova told TASS.
“We continue to work around the clock with incoming appeals and calls,” Ryazanova added.
One of those reportedly missing is 27-year-old Andrei Kozlov, who worked as a security guard at a desert music festival where Hamas fighters killed at least 260 attendees.
Kozlov’s Israeli aunt, Anna Yampolski, told the independent Mozhem Obyasnit news outlet that she is reluctant to seek help from the Russian authorities to find her nephew.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t trust the Russian authorities these days. By and large, there’s little difference between them and Hamas,” the aunt was quoted as saying.
Hamas has captured more than 100 hostages since launching its attack on Saturday.
Citizens and dual nationals from over a dozen countries have been reported killed, abducted or missing since the assault.
Qatar is currently in talks with Hamas and Israel to exchange the hostages for Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails, Reuters reported.
Russia's Ambassador to Israel said Monday that Russia was ready to organize emergency flights out of Israel for its citizens amid ongoing rocket attacks across the country.
AFP contributed reporting.