Canada Increases Visas for Gazans, Condemns Israeli Attack in Rafah
Canada Increases Visas for Gazans, Condemns Israeli Attack in Rafah

OTTAWA: Canada announced on Monday it will issue visas to 5,000 Gazans, increasing its original pledge, and expressed outrage over an Israeli airstrike in Rafah that resulted in 45 deaths.

This increase is a significant rise from the 1,000 temporary resident visas initially promised in December under a special program for relatives of Canadians living in Gaza.

“While movement out of Gaza is currently restricted, this situation may change. With this increase, we will be prepared to help more people as conditions evolve,” said Immigration Minister Marc Miller.

A representative for Miller noted that 448 Gazans had received temporary visas, with 254 issued outside the special program, and 41 have already arrived in Canada.

The Israeli airstrike, which occurred late Sunday night, ignited a fire in a tent camp in Rafah, causing international condemnation, including from Canada.

“We are horrified by the strikes that killed Palestinian civilians in Rafah,” stated Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly, adding that Canada does not support the Israeli military operation in Rafah. “This level of human suffering must end. We demand an immediate ceasefire.”

Canada has consistently called for a ceasefire in Gaza, aligning with global leaders and supporting United Nations resolutions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Rafah strike was not meant to cause civilian casualties and acknowledged it went “tragically wrong.” The Israeli military, aiming to eliminate Hamas in Gaza, is investigating the incident.

The local health ministry reports nearly 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, with the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA stating that over 1.7 million people, more than 75% of Gaza’s population, have been displaced.

Israel began its military campaign after Hamas-led militants attacked southern Israeli communities on October 7, killing approximately 1,200 people and taking over 250 hostages, according to Israeli sources.

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