Minister says families of Canadians still stuck in Gaza

Minister says families of Canadians still stuck in Gaza

OTTOWA (AFP): Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller said Wednesday he was “pissed off” that extended family members of Canadians were being blocked from leaving war-torn Gaza.

Ottawa last month provided a list of about 1,000 people approved to come to Canada to Israeli and Egyptian authorities, who jointly control the only border crossing out of the Palestinian territory, at Rafah.

The measure aimed to reunite Canadian nationals with spouses or common-law partners, children and grandchildren regardless of age, siblings and their immediate families, as well as parents and grandparents.

They would be permitted to stay in Canada temporarily while fighting continues to rage in Gaza. But none have been allowed yet to leave the coastal strip.

“I’m pretty pissed off about it,” Miller told reporters.

“Perhaps there is some trepidation by people on the ground as to whether to let these folks out, but it’s a humanitarian gesture, and it’s immensely frustrating for me,” he said.

The Canadian government had previously focused on getting more than 600 Canadians, their spouses and children out of Gaza.

The war started with Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel’s withering military campaign in response has killed at least 27,708 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry there.

Earlier Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered troops to move on the city of Rafah, in Gaza’s far south, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled to escape daily bombardments.