Canadians Stranded Amid Deadly Israel Conflict as Violence Escalates

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In the wake of escalating violence in Israel, several Canadians reported being left stranded as safety concerns prompted airlines to cancel flights and made communication with the Canadian Embassy increasingly challenging. The violent conflict has claimed at least one Canadian life, according to a statement released by Global Affairs Canada, with two other Canadians currently missing.

“Canadian government officials in Israel are actively communicating with local authorities to corroborate information and gather additional data,” the statement read. It emphasised their prioritisation of Canadian citizen safety and their cautious approach in releasing specific details that may endanger those involved.

Toronto residents, Kendall and Marie Fullerton had been visiting the ancient site of Megiddo when the fighting escalated significantly. Hamas militants launched an aggressive assault involving thousands of rockets accompanied by land, air, and sea infiltrations. This severe attack, labelled the deadliest on Israel in years, resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries.

Kendall Fullerton, commenting from Tel Aviv, expressed concern over the escalating violence and the subsequent impact on regional stability. Particularly worried about the situation, he admitted the family is eager to leave.

In response to the aggressive onslaught, the Israeli government declared war, vowing significant military retaliation against Hamas. Amidst the escalating conflict, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau voiced his unequivocal condemnation of Hamas’ attacks. In a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he expressed grave concern over the unfolding atrocities and reaffirmed Canada’s support for Israel’s right to self-defence.

Despite the volatile situation, the Fullertons reported relative calm in Tel Aviv. They, however, bore witness to smoke clouds from distant Arab cities, air raid sirens, and fighter jets flying overhead. Their return flight cancellation has left the couple struggling to secure alternative arrangements.

Similarly, 22-year-old Robbie Segall, interning in Israel, has experienced frustration with what he characterises as inadequate attention or assistance from the Canadian government. Despite contacting the emergency line for Canadians, the Montreal native found his request for travel information and emergency support redirected to the embassy, which was closed for Thanksgiving.

Efforts to help Canadian citizens stranded in the region are being carried out by Global Affairs Canada, according to spokesperson Pierre Cuguen. Continuous operation of missions in Tel Aviv and Ramallah has been assured, with work being done around the clock to support Canadians. Moreover, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly has engaged in strategic discussions with counterparts in key regional countries.

The Montreal-based Doctors Without Borders group reported that its Gaza team is prepared to provide medical supplies to overrun and under-resourced hospitals and health facilities. A staggering number of patients have been affected by gunshot wounds and shrapnel injuries.

Back in Canada, security has been reinforced at mosques and synagogues, acknowledging the apprehension generated by the ongoing conflict. While Canadian-Palestinian solidarity rallies emerge in one part of the country, demonstrations advocating for Palestinian freedom occur elsewhere, evidence of the widespread concern for the escalating crisis overseas.

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