19 South Africans trapped in Gaza to return home
Nineteen South African citizens who have been trapped in the Gaza Strip since Israel began its indiscriminate war on the territory on October 7 have crossed the frontier with Egypt and are set to return to their country, the South African foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
Foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said on X, formerly Twitter, that the South Africans had arrived in Egypt after South African diplomats worked with Egyptian and Palestinian authorities to get them out of Gaza.
“Our nationals will now be coming home,” he said, adding that they would arrive at OR Tambo Airport in South Africa at around 1pm local time on Tuesday.
“South Africa extends its gratitude, to the Government of Egypt for granting the evacuated foreign nationals’ safe passage through the Rafah Crossing into its country,” an earlier statement from the foreign ministry said.
South Africa has adopted a pro-Palestinian position ever since Israel’s war on Gaza, which has killed over 16,000 civilians, began.
It has called for a permanent ceasefire and withdrawn diplomats from Israel, while condemning the surprise Hamas attack on Israel which killed 1,200 Israelis.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that the Palestinians “are people who have been under occupation for almost 75 years”.
“They have been waiting and waging a war against a government that has been dubbed an apartheid state. We have always pledged our solidarity,” he added.