The South African government has confirmed that at least 19 South Africans who had been stuck in Gaza since the start of the Palestine and Israel war were rescued from Gaza and would be home soon.
On Monday, Independent Media reported that the 19 South Africans, which include 13 females and six males, arrived safely in Egypt before embarking on another journey into the country.
“The evacuated South Africans, comprising six males and 13 females, have now arrived safely in Cairo and are en route to South Africa,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) in Pretoria said in a statement.
Two months ago, at the start of the war, media reports indicated that at least 16 South Africans were trapped in Gaza as Israel continued its massive aerial bombardment of the territory and prepared to launch a ground attack.
Daily Maverick reported that, according to South Africa’s ambassador to Palestine, Shaun Byneveldt, the South Africans were on United Nations lists of those ready to be evacuated when or if the opportunity arises.
The news of the impending return is a big sigh of relief in the middle of continued hostilities between the two parties.
In October, Dirco reported that it had received distressing news that two South African citizens lost their lives in the ongoing Middle East conflict.
The South Africans were approved for evacuation into Egypt by the Israeli authorities on November 11 with the department thanking the Egyptian authorities for their successful evacuation of these citizens.
“South Africa extends its gratitude to the government of Egypt for granting the evacuated foreign nationals safe passage through the Rafah Crossing into its country.”
Meanwhile, the department said the Israeli government has indicated that it intends to extend its attack on the people of Gaza.
“The statements from Israeli leaders appear impervious to the global calls for an immediate end to the killing of Palestinian civilians.
“South Africa calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and the resumption of talks that will end the violence arising from the continued belligerent occupation and lays the basis for a just and lasting solution,” the department added.