Irish embassy aiding citizens in Gaza


Attempts are continuing today to secure the safe departure from Gaza of a number of Irish citizens and members of their families.

The Irish Embassy in Tel Aviv has been attempting to secure exits for a number of Irish citizens and other people with Irish connections from the region which has been under bombardment since December 27th.

"There are a number of Irish citzens and individuals with Irish connections in Gaza at the moment and all are being provided with consular assistance through our embassy in Tel Aviv.They are in constant contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs and an exit plan is in place to allow them to leave Gaza when it is safe to do so," a spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said this morning.

Among those seeking assistance from the embassy is a Palestinian mother and her four children, one of whom has Irish citizenship.

Suha Nateel and her three daughters - Maha (10), Maria (8) and Milad (3), and son Basil (5), returned to live in Gaza for family reasons in 2007. Basil was born in Ireland and is the only member of the family with Irish citizenship.

Ms Nateel's London-based husband Ibrahim has been pressing for his family to be allowed to leave Gaza since Israeli forces began their bombardment of the territory.

The spokeswoman said that exit visas had been arranged for the entire family and their departure from Gaza would be facilitated as soon as possible.

It is believed that as many as 40 people with Irish connections are living in the territory but plans to secure their departure are currently on hold due to safety concerns.