ontario news watch

First group of Canadians leave West Bank for Jordan as those in Gaza brace for worst

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says a group of Canadians has crossed safely from the West Bank into neighbouring Jordan as violence continues in Israel’s escalating war against Hamas. 

Joly made the announcement this morning on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, thanking the Global Affairs staff who she says worked around the clock to make it happen.

The federal government says 21 Canadians and foreign nationals took a bus out of the West Bank, a Palestinian territory that Israel has occupied since 1967, and where it has established settlements.

Long-simmering tensions in the region exploded on Oct. 7 when Hamas fighters stormed into Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing hundreds of civilians and taking more than 150 people hostage.

Israel responded by bombarding Hamas-controlled Gaza and cutting off food, water and electricity to 2.3 million Palestinians, and more than 4,000 people have been killed on both sides in the last 10 days.

With Israel planning a massive ground invasion, Canada is working to try to help as many as 300 Canadians and their families escape Gaza after a plan to allow people to leave via Egypt over the weekend fell through.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2023. 

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press