ontario news watch

No movement for Canadians stuck in Gaza after Rafah border crossing closure

OTTAWA — Canadians awaiting word on when they can leave the war-torn Gaza Strip by crossing into Egypt still don’t appear to have the green light to begin their journey home.

Global Affairs Canada had previously told affected people that they may be able to leave “as early as Sunday,” but the trickle of foreigners allowed to use the Rafah border crossing came to a halt on Saturday amid escalating attacks from Israel in retaliation for Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 incursion into that country.

A spokesman with the Palestinian Crossings Authority said officials in Gaza didn’t allow foreign passport holders to leave because Israel was preventing the evacuation of Palestinian patients for treatment in Egypt.

An evacuation list from the General Authority for Border Crossings in Gaza, as presented on a widely-shared Google spreadsheet, had not been updated as of Sunday.

A Saturday update from Global Affairs made no mention of the day’s developments at the Rafah crossing, but a summary of a conversation between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had offered assurances that Canadians looking to leave the region could do so “in the coming days.”

Even before the latest delay, Canadians stranded in Gaza were expressing frustration over their lack of inclusion on the evacuation list so far.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2023.

The Canadian Press