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70 of 110 Jews Rescued from Sarajevo Go to Israel After JDC Evacuation

Seventy of 110 Jews rescued this weekend from war-torn Sarajevo and scheduled to be brought to the Hungarian capital are continuing on to Israel.

The Jewish refugees, who were expected to arrive here Wednesday, were members of a group of 296 evacuees taken out of the embattled Bosnian city in a convoy of six buses organized by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Sarajevo’s Jewish Benevolent Society.

The convoy made its way out of Sarajevo on Saturday, shortly after a mortar shell exploded in the city’s open-air market, killing 68 people waiting to buy food.

The bus caravan took the refugees on a winding overland journey from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Makarska on the Croatian coast, where the JDC maintains a refugee center.

The JDC estimated that between 300 and 350 Jews now remain in Sarajevo.

But Tuvia Raviv, head of the Jewish Agency’s Budapest office, put the number of Jews remaining in Sarajevo at 500, with about 100 still seeking to leave but lacking official permission to do so.

In the two-and-a-half years since the start of hostilities in the former Yugoslavia, approximately 1,600 to 1,700 Jews have left the country. Before the civil war, the Yugoslav Jewish community totaled about 7,000.

According to Raviv, approximately 1,200 Jewish refugees from the former Yugoslavia have immigrated to Israel since the fighting broke out.

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