We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

The Rafah Border Crossing is the sole crossing point between Egypt and the Gaza Strip PA Images
Batoul Hania

'Please bring him back': Wife of Irish citizen trapped in Gaza pleads for his safe return

Batoul Hania and her four sons left Gaza last month, but her husband Zak is still there.

THE WIFE OF an Irish-Palestinian citizen stuck in Gaza has appealed to the Irish Government to help bring her husband home.

Batoul Hania and her four sons are among the Irish citizens who left Gaza via the Rafah Crossing last month and are now back in Ireland. However, her husband Zak and his nephew Mohammad are still there.

Several Irish citizens have left Gaza in recent weeks but a small number remain in the region.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1′s Saturday with Barry Lenihan, Batoul said she is grateful she and her sons are safe, but she regrets leaving her husband.

“It was heartbreaking. It was not just saying goodbye, saying farewell to somebody. You are in extraordinary conditions, you are leaving somebody in danger.

“It is a matter of death and life, at any moment I can receive bad news about my husband, about my kids’ father.”

Batoul said Zak was “begging” her to “take the kids and go”, but she regrets leaving him, adding: “I feel guilty all the time.”

She called on the Irish Government to help get all Irish citizens out of Gaza.

“The mother does not abandon her children. Please, Irish Government, you are the mother of every Irish citizen in Gaza now. They are in danger,” she said.

Please do something about bringing Zak back… The Irish Government is responsible for Zak’s life, is responsible for Mohammad’s life.

A week after she returned to Ireland, Batoul met Tánaiste Micheál Martin. She today said he could not guarantee Zak’s return to Ireland but told her the Government would “do our best” to see this happen.

Zak moved to Ireland in 1998 and lived in Castleknock in Dublin, before returning to Gaza about a decade ago. The couple’s four sons were all born in Ireland.

‘Absolutely horrendous’

Speaking on the same programme, junior minister Thomas Byrne said the situation is “absolutely horrendous” for the Hanias and other families.

“The Irish Government, the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, our diplomatic network all around the world are continuing to work consistently with every country in the region that has an influence on those cases… We’re trying to work to get them out.”

Hamas militants poured over the border into Israel on 7 October, killing around 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli figures. Around 240 people were kidnapped in the attacks.

Vowing to destroy Hamas and bring back the hostages, Israel launched a massive military offensive that the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry says has killed at least 18,800 people, mostly women and children, to date.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.