A first wave of Irish citizens is leaving Gaza via the Rafah border crossing into Egypt today.
Consular staff from the Irish embassy in Cairo are waiting to meet them at the border. They will then be transported by bus to Cairo where they will receive consular assistance and support, including onward travel to Ireland.
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement this morning that “a first group of Irish citizens and dependants has been cleared to exit through the Rafah crossing from Gaza into Egypt today.
“We expect additional Irish citizens and dependants in Gaza to be on the list in the coming days. We are working tirelessly to ensure that all those who wish to do so will be able to exit as soon as possible.”
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin arrived in Egypt overnight for a short trip that will include stop-offs in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory where he hopes to meet with respective leaders.
The Tánaiste’s aims are to assist in securing the release of eight-year-old Israeli-Irish girl Emily Hand, who is believed to be held captive in Gaza by Hamas, and facilitate Irish citizens who wish to leave the region.
“I am very pleased that a number of our Irish citizens are on the list today to come through the crossing at Rafah. This is very welcome news,” Mr Martin said.
“We’re very hopeful that a number of Irish citizens can make it through,” he added.