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Nineteen South African citizens escaped terrifying conditions this week in the Gaza Strip, where fighting still rages. After approving the evacuation, Israeli authorities allowed the 13 women and six men passage to Egypt.
The foreign nationals have “now arrived safely in Cairo” to return home, South Africa’s government announced. It thanked Egypt for enabling their flight through the sealed Rafah border crossing.
But the crisis continues for over two million Gazans enduring attacks denounced as “belligerent occupation” by officials. They reiterated calls for an immediate, lasting ceasefire and resumption of peace talks.
The evacuated group was part of over 120 South Africans in Gaza and Israel monitored by diplomats since October hostilities erupted. Some still await rescue openings to exit the war zone.
MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the South African embassy staff “are hard at work monitoring, collecting information and liaising with citizens who might be in distress.”
As missiles and bombs continued falling this week, the first priority remained to spirit those already cleared to safer ground. Their liberation marks a small victory amidst the ongoing violent quagmire.