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Nearly 100 British citizens on list to leave Gaza for Egypt

PA News

Nearly 100 British citizens were expected to be able to leave Gaza for Egypt on Friday.

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf confirmed that his in-laws – Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla, from Dundee – were among those permitted to leave the territory through the Rafah crossing on Friday morning.

The couple, who had been trapped in Gaza, were named on a list of those granted access by the Palestinian Border Authority and were told to present to the border at 7am.

Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla have been trapped in Gaza for several weeks (handout/PA)
Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla have been trapped in Gaza for several weeks (handout/PA)

The latest list published by the authority included 92 people described as British citizens, out of a total of 127 people named under the UK section of the list.

It comes amid major diplomatic efforts to secure foreign nationals safe passage out of the war-torn region and into Egypt through the Rafah crossing.

Around 200 Britons in Gaza have so far registered with the authorities, and along with their dependents the total number the UK is trying to secure passage for is thought to be in the low hundreds.

Mr Yousaf shared the “deep personal relief” felt by his family as he confirmed the parents of his wife Nadia had left Gaza.

The El-Naklas were there visiting relatives before the conflict with Israel erupted, and Mr Yousaf repeatedly shared updates of his family’s situation, including that they had to drink sea water due to a lack of clean resources.

The Foreign Office said on Thursday that more UK nationals were able to make it into Egypt after two UK aid workers managed to flee Gaza a day earlier, but declined to say how many.

Security minister Tom Tugendhat said he could not go into detail about the number of Britons expected to cross the border.

“I really can’t go into detail for the very simply reason that there is a lot of moving parts, there is a lot of different issues that come together in those exit routes.

“Different families will have different pressures and different ways, so you will understand that it is not very easy to give a running commentary and it would be the wrong thing to do.”

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

He told Sky News “I can give this absolute assurance that the UK Government from the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, me and many others, have been absolutely committed to making sure we look after British citizens as best as we possibly can and we help to get them out of this incredibly dangerous situation.”

The UK officials are believed to be meeting British citizens who cross the border at Rafah, before bussing people to a reception centre at Cairo.

Trauma support has also been made available to those who have escaped the conflict, which has seen more than 9,000 people killed in the Gaza Strip since October 7, when Israel launched its military response to the atrocities committed by Hamas.

Aid agencies are battling a humanitarian crisis in the war-ravaged territory with limited resources, amid calls for the Government to increase their efforts.

It is understood Foreign Secretary James Cleverly spoke to Ayman Safadi, minister of foreign affairs in Jordan, and UAE foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Thursday about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

He also spoke to Israel’s minister of strategic affairs, Ron Dermer, about ensuring British nationals are able to cross safely as soon as possible into Egypt, while reiterating the UK’s solidarity with Israel and its commitment to finding a two-state solution.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said on Friday that Israel “has a responsibility to adhere to international humanitarian law”.

Speaking as he toured the Rolls-Royce site in Derby, with the Australian deputy prime minister and defence minister, Richard Marles, he said: “Israel is, of course, a democratic country that has a responsibility to adhere to international humanitarian law, and that’s a point that I make publicly as well as privately to the Israelis, including in a meeting yesterday with the Israeli ambassador in London.”

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