Govt pushing for safe passage for 67 Australians in Gaza

International |  IANS  | Published :

Canberra, Nov 5 (IANS) The Australian government has confirmed it is working to secure evacuations for 67 Australians stranded in Gaza.

Tim Watts, assistant minister for foreign affairs, on Sunday told Sky News Australia that consular officials were pressing for safe passage for 67 Australians in Gaza, who have registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), for government assistance to leave the region.

According to DFAT, 25 Australian citizens, permanent residents and their family members were among the first group of people evacuated from Gaza into Egypt through the Rafah crossing on Wednesday and Thursday.

Watts confirmed there have been no further crossings for Australians since Thursday but that Australian diplomats and DFAT officials were working hard to try and press for further passage for Australians across that border crossing, Xinhua news agency reported.

"We are pressing very hard because we know how dire the situation is in Gaza," he said.

The Australians who were able to leave Gaza were met in Egypt by DFAT officials who organised accommodation and are now working on free commercial flights for them back to Australia.

The Australian government has called for a pause on Israeli airstrikes to allow for humanitarian aid to reach people in Gaza.

Pro-Palestine rallies calling for a ceasefire were set to be held in the capital city centres of Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth on Sunday.

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