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31 Austrians among those evacuated from Gaza

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
31 Austrians among those evacuated from Gaza
An Egyptian officer speaks with a foreign passport holder upon arriving in the Egyptian part of the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

A group of 31 Austrians, including a six-year-old girl and nine other minors, has been evacuated from Gaza on Wednesday, Vienna said.

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They are among the hundreds of injured residents and foreigners who escaped Gaza to Egypt, the first evacuations from the war torn Palestinian territory pounded by Israeli warplanes in retaliation for an unprecedented Hamas attack.

"We are very relieved that late this afternoon we managed to evacuate the first group of 31 Austrians to Egypt via the Rafah border crossing in the south of Gaza and thus bring them to safety," the Austrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Those evacuated are mainly dual nationals who were living in Gaza or visiting family and include 10 minors, the youngest a six year-old girl.

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An employee of the Austrian representative office in Ramallah with his family and two Austrian doctors who worked for an international organisation in Gaza are also among the evacuees, the ministry added.

"All evacuees are doing well under the circumstances and are physically well," it added.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg thanked "Egyptian and Israeli partners for making the departure possible" and his employees in Ramallah, Tel Aviv and Cairo.

"In recent weeks, diplomatic channels have been running hot to lobby partners in the region to open the Rafah border crossing," he said.

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The evacuees are being taken to accommodation organised by the Austrian Embassy in Cairo, whose team will support them to organise their onward journeys, the ministry said.

It added that "a handful of Austrians and their relatives" keen to leave remained in Gaza.

"We will continue to leave no stone unturned to enable them to leave quickly and, above all, safely," the ministry added.

Israel has relentlessly pounded Gaza in retribution for the worst attack in the country's history on October 7, when Hamas militants stormed across the border, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials.

Its bombing campaign has killed 8,796 people, mostly civilians and many of them children, according to Hamas-run Gaza's health ministry.

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