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Canadians finally starting to make their way out of war-torn Gaza

A cohort of Canadian citizens and their loved ones have been given the green light today
Palestinians and foreign aid workers wait to cross into Egypt at Rafah, Gaza Strip, on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023. Canadians looking to flee Gaza continue to await confirmation on when they can cross into Egypt, with no official announcement yet from Global Affairs Canada on a date or time, one month after the latest Israel-Hamas war began. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Fatima Shbair

A Canadian man in Gaza says his wife and children arrived at a border crossing with Egypt several hours ago after Global Affairs Canada told them they would be able to leave the beseiged Palestinian territory today.

Mansour Shouman, who isn’t leaving Gaza himself, says he said goodbye to his wife and five children and got a message from them a few hours ago that they were at the Rafah crossing, but hasn’t heard more from them since.

Shouman says he hopes his family – who got an email from Global Affairs earlier today with details on their evacuation – has been able to make it across the border safely, but is waiting for confirmation on their whereabouts.

A cohort of Canadian citizens and their loved ones have been given the green light today to flee Gaza for the first time since the Israel-Hamas war began a month ago.

An approved evacuation list from the General Authority for Border Crossings in Gaza lists about 80 people connected to Canada who have been granted permission to leave through the Rafah border crossing.

The list, as presented on a widely shared Google spreadsheet, shows about 20 people listed as Canadian citizens, while the remaining are Palestinian or dual citizens.

The document also contains names of other foreign nationals from countries including France, the Phillippines, Ukraine, Moldova, Germany, and the United Kingdom who’ve been granted permission to leave.

The Canadian embassy in Egypt has said it has a team of consular officials ready to assist Canadians, permanent residents and their family members as soon as they cross at Rafah into Egypt. A bus is to take them to their accommodations in Cairo.

The breakthrough comes after Canada told citizens trapped in the besieged Palestinian territory that they could be allowed out over the weekend but attacks by Israel closed the Rafah crossing until Monday.

Rafah is the only exit for foreign nationals who wish to leave the Palestinian territory, which has been under constant bombardment since the Israeli army launched retaliatory attacks for the brutal Oct. 7 incursion by Hamas.

Global Affairs Canada said in a statement Monday the Israeli military has assured Canada that more than 400 of its citizens will be able to cross “in the coming days” and added that three have already escaped with a third party, though they offered no further details.

Meanwhile, the federal agency added it is in contact with 600 Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their family members in the territory.

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