TORONTO (AFP): An initial group of Canadian nationals and their dependents have been evacuated from the Gaza Strip to Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, Canadian officials said Tuesday.
“The first group of Canadians have left Gaza. Our team of officials has met them on the Egyptian side of the border, providing them with support and care,” Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Officials told AFP as many as 80 were on a list to exit the territory through Rafah, out of more than 400 Canadians registered with Canada seeking to leave. The exact number was expected to be announced later in the day.
In Ottawa, International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen told reporters the Canadians were “now safe and sound” and were expected to travel to Cairo and then on to Canada or elsewhere.
“It’s personal decisions that will be made in terms of their next destinations,” he said, adding that more Canadian nationals in Gaza are expected to soon follow.
Hundreds of foreign passport holders were waiting at the Rafah crossing Tuesday for evacuation into Egypt, an AFP journalist saw.
People were allowed to leave between Wednesday and Friday last week, including dozens of wounded Palestinians as well as foreign nationals.
Departures resumed Monday after Rafah was closed over the weekend.
Gaza has been under Israeli bombardment since Hamas carried out an attack of unprecedented scale on October 7, killing 1,400 mostly civilian Israelis, according to official tolls.
The Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza says 10,000 people, also mostly civilians, have been killed in the month since then in the Palestinian territory.