Reports have come forward from Global Affairs Canada suggesting that in the recent escalation of aggression in Israel, instigated by Hamas, one Canadian citizen has been killed and two others have gone missing. The information was relayed on Sunday afternoon, with Canadian officials in Israel having been in contact with the local authorities to ascertain further details and verify these claims.
Currently, Global Affairs Canada has recorded a presence of 1,419 Canadians in Israel and a further 492 scattered across the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It must however be noted that this data might not be completely accurate since registration is voluntary and hence, might not fully represent the number of Canadians residing there. Confirmations regarding whether the casualties and missing persons were registered either in Israel or the Palestinian territories are yet to be clarified by the Agency.
The conflict witnessed a new surge when Hamas fighters launched an unexpected offensive in Israel on Saturday. The catastrophic impact of this sudden attack resulted in approximately 700 fatalities, 44 of which were soldiers, with several individuals being abducted, bringing a stark realization of the peril they were in. Retaliation followed, as Israel responded by intensifying its bombardment of the Gaza Strip, reducing residential buildings to mere rubble. The number of fatalities in Gaza exceeds 400, including 78 children and 41 women with several thousand injured on both ends of the battle field.
Israeli officers reported the extermination of 400 militants and the apprehending of many more. The attack by Hamas, it said, was to protect Palestinians enduring Israel’s occupation and continuous offensives against inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. In response to the recent assault, the Israeli government declared war, authorizing considerable military countermeasures.
Global Affairs Canada has informed that it has fielded 429 inquiries since the conflict began, related to travel advisories for Israel and Gaza, current airport statuses and flights, the existing security scenario, and possibilities of leaving the conflicted areas.
Condemning the devastating attack by Hamas, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reinforced Canada’s absolute support for Israel’s right to defend itself, in line with international law. He pressed for the immediate release of hostages, demanding that their treatment conform to international law. The ongoing crisis is being closely monitored by Canada, with continuous communication ongoing with international partners to restore tranquility and safety in the region. A gravely crucial imperative, as emphasised by Trudeau, is to protect civilian life.
A Canadian Israeli peace activist, Vivian Silver, is believed to be among the hostages, identified by her acquaintances. She was allegedly abducted when Hamas militants invaded Be’eri, an Israeli community on the border with Gaza.
Hamas has announced taking hostage over 130 Israelis who they plan to exchange for thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Notwithstanding, the Israeli military have not confirmed this exact number but acknowledged the magnitude of the hostage situation.
The conflict reaching sensitive and high-risk proportions with the hostage situation, a former Canadian government hostage negotiator, Calvin Chrutisie, expressed concern over the fear and uncertainty that it brings about, including the fragile situation over potential torture and the course of negotiation processes being influenced.
Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly aired her discussions with her counterparts in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority on finding avenues for de-escalation. She stressed the need for violence cessation and civilian protection.
As innocent children become victims of the conflict, aid groups pressure both sides to adhere to the rules of war. Now, more than ever, is there a need for the local population to find a safe haven, limit their movements, and keep updated through local media. International airlines, including Air Canada, have temporarily suspended their service, isolating the region further. With the land borders with Jordan also potentially being affected by the conflict, the situation remains precarious.