Canadians in Israel, Gaza urged to be ‘extremely cautious’ amid fighting | CBC News

Canadians in Israel, Gaza urged to be ‘extremely cautious’ amid fighting | CBC News

World

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 its citizens to take precautions.

Civilians told to shelter in place due Hamas incursion, Israeli airstrikes

CBC News

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Travellers look at electronic departure signs at an airport.

Passengers look at a departure board at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, on Saturday as multiple flights were cancelled after a surprise attack by Hamas. The conflict sparked major disruption at the airport, with American Airlines, Emirates, Lufthansa and Ryanair among carriers with cancelled flights. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP/Getty Images)

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 its citizens in the region to take precautions.

Militants have attacked and kidnapped civilians inside southern Israel near Gaza since Hamas launched an unprecedented incursion, sending dozens of fighters into Israeli towns Saturday morning, leading 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. These acts of violence are completely unacceptable. We stand with Israel and fully support its right to defend itself,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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 who are already in the West Bank and affected areas of Israel, should remain “extremely cautious,” it said.

It 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.

There are currently 1,419 Canadians registered with the state of Israel and 492 Canadians registered in the Palestinian territories, according to Global Affairs.

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., 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 its 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 are currently sheltering in place and that U.S. government personnel continues 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

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