Palestinians look for survivors inside the remains of a destroyed building following an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mohammed Dahman
No word on status of 135 Canadians cleared to leave Gaza Strip over weekend
Published 11:06 PST, Mon November 20, 2023
A small group of Liberal and Conservative MPs are in Israel as part of what they say is a bipartisan trip to show solidarity with the country as it grieves a gruesome attack by Hamas and comes under scrutiny for deaths in the Gaza Strip.
Liberal MP Anthony Housefather says the trip involves meeting with survivors of the Oct. 7 attack in which Hamas militants killed an estimated 1,200 people in Israel and took roughly 240 people hostage.
Meanwhile, Canadians with loved ones trapped in Gaza are still waiting to learn whether anyone connected to Canada was able to make the journey into Egypt via the Rafah land crossing over the weekend.
A daily list from Gaza's General Authority for Crossings and Borders that includes the names of foreign nationals cleared to make the trip included 135 people with ties to Canada on Sunday.
Global Affairs Canada had not said by this morning whether they were able to leave the war-torn enclave, and no Canadian names were on the list today.
The department's last update, provided on Friday, said 376 Canadians, permanent residents and their relatives have been able to leave the Palestinian territory through the Rafah crossing.
After the Oct. 7 attacks, Israel declared war on Hamas, began an airstrike campaign and cut off food, fuel, water and supplies to Gaza, which is home to 2.3 million Palestinians.
The territory's health officials say more than 12,700 people have been killed in the retaliation campaign so far, two-thirds of them women and children. Another 2,700 people are reported missing.
Heavy fighting has broken out today around the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, which has housed thousands of patients and displaced people for weeks.
The fighting comes a day after the World Health Organization evacuated 31 premature babies from Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, the territory's largest, where they were among more than 250 critically ill or wounded patients stranded there days after Israeli forces entered the compound.
Israel says Hamas uses civilians and hospitals as shields, while critics say Israel's siege and relentless aerial bombardment amounts to collective punishment of Palestinians.
— With files from The Associated Press