By John Ensor •
Updated: 02 Nov 2023 • 19:45
Spain's acting Minister of Defence: Margarita Robles.
IN the imminent shadow of conflict, Spain is set to speed up the evacuation of its citizens from the Gaza Strip within the next 48 hours.
Amidst the conflict between Israel and Hamas, with the conflict seemingly about to escalate, Spain has initiated the process of evacuating up to 178 of its nationals from the Gaza Strip, writes 20 Minutos.
The operation, scheduled for today and Friday, November 3, comes after Israel intensified its offensive against Hamas, leading to significant casualties on both sides.
The first Spaniard, a medical professional, from Valencia, with Doctors Without Borders, successfully exited the region on Wednesday, heralding the beginning of a critical evacuation effort.
Margarita Robles, the acting Minister of Defence, confirmed that the Armed Forces are on standby for an aerial evacuation if required. A team in Cairo awaits orders to assist Spaniards departing the Strip, where the Rafah crossing has seen a regulated flow of civilians leaving the area.
The Rafah crossing’s brief opening allowed not only Spaniards but also individuals of various nationalities, including dual-nationality Palestinians, to exit. These movements saw Americans, Belgians, Dutch, Mexicans, South Koreans, Greeks, Croatians, Hungarians, and Swiss nationals, alongside UN staff with Italian passports, making their way out of Gaza.
The Israeli Army’s strategy has led to the encirclement of Gaza City, where intense urban combat continues to unfold. Herzi Halevi, the Chief of the General Staff, emphasized the complexity of the operations and the dedication of ground forces, supported by precise intelligence and firepower from air and sea. He also mentioned the heavy toll the conflict has taken, including the death of an Israeli lieutenant colonel.
Despite the military advances, concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza persist. Halevi addressed the issue of fuel shortages and hospital closures, indicating that Israel would allow fuel entry once it has run out.
UN officials, including the rapporteur for Palestine, Francesca Albanese, have urgently called for international action to avert what they term as an impending ‘genocide and catastrophe’ in Gaza. They expressed frustration and highlighted the responsibility of Israel’s allies in preventing the escalation of the situation.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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