More than 1,000 Canadians have been evacuated by air from Israel since Friday, while about 300 more people remain stuck in the Gaza Strip, Global Affairs Canada confirmed.
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“The assisted departures from Tel Aviv to Athens are proceeding without incident,” Julie Sunday, deputy minister at Global Affairs Canada, said midday Sunday.
Two flights with 90 and 173 passengers took place to the Greek capital on Sunday, and two more are planned for Monday.
The first passengers from Israel arrived in Montreal late Friday evening, including a group from the Syrian community of Laval that flew to Tel Aviv earlier this month for a two-week pilgrimage.
“We continue to engage other potential passengers in Israel so that they are ready to travel, registered on flights, and thus facilitate their journey to Canada,” Mr. saidMe Sunday during a technical meeting.
According to the latest data from Global Affairs Canada, more than 6,800 Canadians are currently registered in Israel and more than 450 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Currently, approximately 300 Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their families are still trying to leave the Gaza Strip.
“We had hoped to have an opportunity to leave the country via the Rafah border crossing on Saturday, but unfortunately this did not materialize,” said Julie Sunday.
Communication with Canadian nationals in the Gaza Strip is currently very difficult due to power outages, she said.
Because it is impossible to know when the border crossing connecting Gaza to Egypt will open, Canadian authorities reiterate that “proximity to the border would be an advantage” but do not formally ask nationals to go there an opening is possible at very short notice.
Authorities are working on a land crossing from the West Bank to neighboring Jordan to transport Canadian nationals by bus and have urged those in Lebanon to leave the country while commercial flights are still available.
“It’s really not the time to go there,” M said.Me Press conference on Sunday.
Five deaths in Israel
Global Affairs Canada confirmed the death of a fifth Canadian in Israel on Sunday. The victim, whose identity was not released, was reported missing during the Hamas attack in Israel a week ago.
The day before, the family of 22-year-old Shir Georgy confirmed his death Toronto Star. She was attending the music festival near Gaza when she was killed, as were Montrealer Alexandre Look, 33, and Ben Mizrachi, 22, from Vancouver.
Adi Vital-Kaploun, 33, was abducted from her home near the Gaza border and then killed.
Authorities say three Canadians who were in Israel are still missing.
“We are very focused on the cases of these missing persons who we are still trying to locate and return safely to Canada,” Mr. saidMe Sunday.
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