Global Affairs reports Canadian killed in Lebanon in connection with Israel-Hamas war
Global Affairs is reporting the death of another Canadian due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, bringing the number of casualties connected to Canada to nine.
“GAC is aware of the deaths of eight Canadian citizens and one with deep connections to Canada,” the department wrote in its Sunday update on the conflict.
GAC added that the latest death occurred in Lebanon, but did not provide any other details.
The update also stated that around 130 more Canadians, permanent residents and eligible family members were able to leave the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing this weekend.
“Global Affairs Canada (GAC) confirms that the Rafah border crossing reopened to foreign nationals on Saturday, December 2, and that Canadians were permitted to start crossing again,” the agency said in a Sunday update.
This means that a total of 600 Canadians, permanent residents and their family members have crossed into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing since the crossing was first opened up to permit select foreign nationals and injured Palestinians through.
A document published this weekend by Gaza’s General Authority for Crossings and Borders showed 165 names under the “Canada” heading, indicating they had been approved to pass through the border, The Canadian Press reports.
Canada is not in charge of who is permitted to cross and when, and noted in their update that the situation is still “quite fluid and unpredictable,” cautioning that sudden closures of the border may occur.
“We continue to communicate directly with affected people in Gaza asking them to have their travel documents on hand and be ready to travel on short notice,” GAC stated.
“Communications remain difficult with regular blackouts to Gaza’s main telecom services, although we continue to contact Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and their eligible family members through all available channels and we continue to be in touch with their loved ones in Canada.”
There are currently 426 Canadians registered in the West Bank and Gaza, according to GAC. One Canadian remains missing, but Global Affairs has not identified them.
Canadians have been attempting to flee the region since Oct. 7., when Hamas militants launched an attack in Israel that killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took around 240 hostages—a move which sparked retaliation from Israel in the form of weeks of aerial bombardment, a siege that cut off food, water and fuel to the Gaza Strip and a ground assault that has displaced 1.8 million Palestinians, according to the United Nations.
More than 15,500 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, with 70 per cent of the deaths being among women and children.
After weeks of widening evacuation orders instructing citizens to flee south in the besieged enclave, Israel’s military said Sunday that their ground offensive had expanded to every part of Gaza.
A temporary ceasefire last week allowed for the exchange of dozens of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, but Israel has since called its negotiators home, the Associated Press reports, making hopes for another temporary truce grow dim.
Canada updated its travel advisory for Lebanon in mid-October as fears of a widening regional conflict grew. Canadians are advised to avoid all travel to Lebanon “due to a deteriorating security situation, civil unrest, the increased risk of terrorist attack and the ongoing armed conflict with Israel.”
Israel and militant groups such as Hezbollah have been exchanging blows over the Lebanon border for the past few weeks, the Associated Press reports. On Friday, in their first attack since the seven-day truce between Israel and Hamas, Hezbollah launched attacks on Israeli troops, while Lebanese officials reported Israeli shelling killed two citizens in a village in southern Lebanon.
There are 15,918 Canadians registered with GAC in Lebanon.