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Canadian man in Gaza says Ottawa has asked him to be prepared to leave with family

A Canadian man trying to get out of Gaza with his family says Global Affairs Canada has asked him to gather his documents and be prepared to leave at any moment through the enclave’s border crossing with Egypt. 

Mahmoud Nasser says his wife, who has a Brazilian passport, got a call from Global Affairs today during which an official confirmed that Nasser, his wife, his Canadian father and brother and his Palestinian sister-in-law were all registered with Ottawa to evacuate. 

Nasser, who is sheltering at a refugee camp that’s a 20-minute drive away from the Rafah border crossing, says the official told them to be ready to leave and that a bus would be waiting for Canadians and their families on the Egyptian side once they were allowed to cross. 

Nasser says Global Affairs did not provide a date or time for a potential evacuation but told his family to watch a list being published online by the General Authority for Border Crossings in Gaza that has been detailing the foreigners allowed to leave since Wednesday. 

An apparent agreement on Wednesday allowed hundreds of foreign passport holders and dozens of wounded Palestinians to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing for the first time since the war began.

Lists of those allowed out that were published Wednesday and today did not include Canada among several other countries. 

Global Affairs Canada said Wednesday night that it was aware of reports that one Canadian citizen was able to leave the Palestinian territory at the Rafah border crossing with the help of a third party, but offered no further information.

Canadians in Gaza, as well as Canadians with family in the enclave, have called on Ottawa to move to quickly get its citizens out. 

The federal government has said it expects the flow of foreign nationals leaving Gaza to continue and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called for Canadians to be allowed out. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2023.

The Canadian Press