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More Irish citizens are set to leave Gaza for Egypt today Alamy Stock Photo
Egypt

More Irish citizens set to leave Gaza via the Rafah Crossing today

Over 20 Irish citizens crossed into Egypt yesterday.

LAST UPDATE | 16 Nov 2023

MORE IRISH CITIZENS are expected to leave Gaza via the Rafah Crossing today.

Twenty-three Irish citizens crossed into Egypt yesterday and the names of more Irish people have been added to the list of those allowed to leave Gaza.

The exact number of Irish citizens who will leave Gaza today has yet to be clarified.

The group of people allowed to leave were advised to be at the crossing before 7am local time today (5am Irish time).

A message noted: “You should consider making your way to the Crossing in the morning, noting that the authorities advise that you must be in attendance at the External Hall by 7am local time to facilitate your crossing.

“If you do not avail of the opportunity to cross when you name appears on a list, there is no guarantee that you will be permitted to exit on a future date.

“Once you successfully cross into Egypt, our Embassy staff will meet you and arrange for your onward travel with them to Cairo.”

5ec25a86-5634-4c6c-b5e5-22471c0109ff Ibrahim Alagha's three children in Egypt Ibrahim Alagha Ibrahim Alagha

A spokesperson in the Department of Foreign Affairs told The Journal this morning that it “welcomes the inclusion of more Irish citizens on the list for departure from Gaza today”.

“We have continued to stay in contact with our citizens in Gaza overnight and throughout this morning. The consular team from our Embassy in Cairo are again at Rafah to provide support and transport onwards from the border,” they added. 

While speaking to press in Jerusalem after visiting communities in southern Israel targeted by Hamas on 7 October, Tánaiste Micheál Martin thanked Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen for assisting Irish citizens to be evacuated from Gaza.

The Tánaiste said Cohen gave him “assurances that the majority of those citizens will be able to leave Gaza within the next three days”.

“We know that there are some coming up today – although there has been a delay in respect to the processing side,” he said.

“It impacts on all foreign nationals coming out of Gaza.”

Ibrahim Alagha, his wife and three children were among the group of 23 Irish citizens and their relatives who made the journey to Egypt yesterday.

Speaking to The Journal, Alagha said he and his family were informed at around 10pm on the day before their journey that they would be included in a list of evacuees.

“So we got the news and we were not able to sleep that night from happiness and from the good news,” he said. 

“I knew that not all Irish citizens had made it out on that day, so we were very delighted we were on that list.”

Alagha and his family were in Gaza visting family when the fighting broke out. 

Irish citizen Zak Hania today told The Journal that his “heart is broken” after he said goodbye to his wife and children as they left Khan Younis in southern Gaza for the Rafah border crossing into Egypt. 

Hania was not included on the departure list today along with his other family members.

“My kids left sad and in tears,” said Hania. “Especially the youngest one, he is 10.”

Due to delays processing the evacuees at the Rafah crossing, Ali Al-Astal (3) and Sara Al-Astal will be forced to spend the night at the border crossing area, along with their uncle Mohammed Jendia who is escorting them to Egypt after their mother died from injuries she suffered during an Israeli air strike last month.

With reporting by Hannah McCarthy in Israel

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