As fighting between the militant group Hamas and the Israeli military continues in Gaza, Canada has joined other countries in condemning the violence and warning their citizens to take precautions.
Civilians told to shelter in place due to Hamas incursion, Israeli airstrikes
As fighting between the militant group Hamas and the Israeli military continues in Gaza, Canada has joined other countries in condemning the violence and warning their citizens in the region to take precautions.
Militants have attacked and kidnapped civilians inside southern Israel near Gaza, sending dozens of fighters into Israeli towns Saturday morning. That’s led to Israeli airstrikes on targets in the Palestinian territory.
The Canadian government said it expects military operations to continue in Gaza.
Global Affairs Canada has received nearly 100 inquiries about the fighting, but said it has no reports of any Canadian casualties.
“Canada strongly condemns the current terrorist attacks against Israel,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday on X, formerly known as Twitter. “These acts of violence are completely unacceptable. We stand with Israel and fully support its right to defend itself.”
Minister Joly spoke with her Israeli counterpart, @elicoh1 . She offered Canada’s condolences to the families of those injured or killed. Minister Cohen updated her on the situation in Israel. Canada supports Israel’s right to self defence in accordance with international law.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday called for “exercising maximum restraint and avoiding exposing civilians to further danger.”
Global Affairs Canada has advised Canadians to avoid all travel to Gaza. Those already in the West Bank and affected areas of Israel should remain “extremely cautious,” it said.
The government department said Canadians in the region should also do the following:
- Limit their movements.
- Shelter in place until it is safe to leave the area.
- Monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.
- Download the app Home Front Command to get alerts providing emergency updates.
Global Affairs said 1,419 Canadians are registered with the state of Israel and 492 Canadians are registered in the Palestinian territories. It added the agency is working with local authorities to confirm reports of a Canadian who died and two others who are missing.
One of the most dangerous places for civilians in southern Israel remains Ashkelon. Before daybreak on Sunday, militants fired more rockets from Gaza, hitting a hospital in the coastal town. The hospital sustained damage, said senior hospital official Tal Bergman.
Israeli airstrikes in Gaza intensified after nightfall, flattening residential buildings in giant explosions, including a 14-storey tower that held dozens of apartments as well as Hamas offices in central Gaza City. Israeli forces fired a warning just before.
Around 3 a.m. local time, a loudspeaker atop a mosque in Gaza City blared a stark warning to residents of nearby apartment buildings to evacuate immediately. Just minutes later, an Israeli airstrike reduced a nearby five-storey building to ashes.
WATCH | Hamas operation designed to ‘change the status quo,’ expert says:
Hamas operation designed to ‘change the status quo,’ expert says
Featured VideoHamas militants caught Israel off guard with a barrage of rocket attacks and surprise infiltration of its borders on Saturday. ‘This is an attempt to shatter not just Israeli sense of complacency but also of the region and of the great powers like the United States and Europe,’ says Khaled Elgindy, senior fellow and director of the Program on Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli Affairs with the Middle East Institute.
As of Sunday, Global Affairs said Air Canada will temporarily suspend flights between Tel Aviv’s airport and Canadian international airports in Toronto and Montreal.
Airlines including Lufthansa in Germany, and the U.S. carriers Delta Air Lines and American Airlines cancelled more than 80 flights to and from Tel Aviv by Saturday evening — roughly 14 per cent of all flights scheduled, according to FlightAware.
The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem said its staff members are currently sheltering in place and U.S. government personnel, continue to be prohibited from travel to Gaza and areas within 11 kilometres of the territory.
All employees at the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv, as well Canadian personnel in Ramallah in the West Bank, are “safe and accounted for,” Global Affairs Canada said in a statement Saturday.
With files from The Associated Press