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Trudeau says Ottawa ‘actively working’ to find missing Palestinian Canadian in Gaza

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is “actively engaged” after a Palestinian Canadian was reported missing in the Gaza Strip. 

Mansour Shouman was in the region to help document ongoing humanitarian efforts amid the raging Israel-Hamas war. 

A member of a team that was supporting him in that work says loved ones lost contact with him more than a week ago.

Global Affairs Canada confirmed on the weekend that it was aware of a Canadian who is missing in Gaza. 

The department said it was working to monitor the situation and was in direct contact with family members. 

No other details were disclosed for privacy reasons. 

“We are actively working on this. We’re talking to everyone. We’re taking this one very seriously,” Trudeau said Wednesday. 

Zaheera Soomar, who worked with Shouman, said they heard early last week that he’d been seen at a hospital in the south of the Gaza Strip but was headed for Rafah.

That’s the location of the crossing point with Egypt through which Canadians have been able to exit the territory. 

Soomar said three eyewitnesses then told the group Shouman was taken last Tuesday by Israel Defense Forces while on the way to Rafah. 

Those eyewitness reports could not be independently verified. 

Shouman previously did oil and gas consulting work in Calgary and is the father of five children who left Gaza with his wife last year for Abu Dhabi, where his mother resides.

He stayed behind in Gaza when his family left because he felt a duty to document the war and its ramifications.

Gaza has been under constant bombardment as Israel retaliates against Hamas, which controls the territory, for a brutal attack on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 people and saw another 250 taken hostage. 

Amid a massive military response from Israel, the Hamas-run health ministry says more than 26,000 people have been killed, including militants. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2024.

The Canadian Press


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