Israel: two Canadians dead, three in Hamas hands
TORONTO – Two Canadians have died, perhaps even a third one, in Israel, in Hamas’ attack: Foreign Minister Melanie Joly confirmed it today, adding that assisted departures for Canadian citizens (including dual citizens) and their families will begin by the end of the week. The minister also said the government is following reports that three more Canadians are missing and is in contact with the families of these people to offer support, while officials are engaging with local authorities to gather further information.
However, she would not confirm whether there were Canadian hostages, saying she does not want to “increase their value and endanger their lives.” However, Joly indicated that Canada is in contact with Israel’s chief hostage negotiator and will send “a team of experts” to support officials involved in the negotiations – an admission of sorts, then.
As for the victims, the two Canadians killed were Ben Mizrachi, 22, of Vancouver and Alexandre Look, 33, of Montreal. The minister said she spoke to Look’s family on Tuesday and that it was one of the most difficult calls she has ever had to make. “As we continue to watch the horrors unfold… I offer my condolences to all those who have lost loved ones following the terrorist attacks in Israel. The pain and suffering we continue to witness cannot be measured,” she said. “Young people’s lives are being cut short, families are being torn apart, and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. And this is being felt in homes and communities across Canada.”
There are many Canadian citizens in the zone of the new, umpteenth war. The latest data indicates that 4,249 Canadians are registered in Israel and another 476 Canadians are registered in Gaza and the West Bank. Joly assured that Canadian Forces planes will take those wishing to leave the region from Tel Aviv to Athens: from there, an Air Canada plane and crew will take the Canadians home. The federal government announced Tuesday evening that it will assist departing Canadians “in the coming days” and that flights will be open to Canadian citizens, their spouses and children, as well as Canadian permanent residents, their spouses and children. . “Let me be clear: this includes dual citizens,” Joly said.
However, some Canadians in Israel told CTV they have so far been unable to find their way home due to airline cancellations and difficulties receiving embassy assistance despite increased consular capacity. This prompted federal opposition parties to call for immediate emergency airlifts. Meanwhile, the federal government is inviting all Canadians in the region who have not yet registered to do so, so that embassy officials can share more information about upcoming flights directly with them. Stressing that it is “a time of great uncertainty and great anxiety,” the minister said missions in Tel Aviv and Ramallah remain open and officials in Ottawa, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon are offering emergency support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Additionally, the federal government is working on additional options for those who cannot reach Tel Aviv Airport. All attempts complicated by a chaotic and constantly evolving situation.
In the pic above, the federal Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly (photo from Twitter – @melaniejoly)