Australians may get second chance to flee Gaza

Australians trapped in Gaza might have a second opportunity to flee the besieged territory, as local authorities flag another reopening.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced on Thursday that 20 Australians, as well as their family members, and a permanent resident were able to cross into Egypt through the border at Rafah.

But many Australians and their relatives remain stuck in Gaza, which Israel is bombarding through retaliatory air strikes in response to a deadly attack launched by Hamas on October 7.

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A foreign affairs department spokesman would not confirm when the border would reopen.

“We continue to engage closely with partners in the region and do all we can to enable the remaining Australians in Gaza, who wish to leave, to do so as soon as possible,” he said.

“The timing of those departures depends on a range of factors.

“The situation in Gaza continues to be highly challenging and can change rapidly.”

Gazan border officials said the crossing would reopen so more foreigners could leave. Credit: EPA

Wong said she was “relieved and grateful” the cohort was able to cross into safety.

Gazan border officials said the crossing would reopen so more foreigners could leave.

Australian officials were on the Egyptian side of the crossing, and helped the Australians leaving.

They will be offered accommodation in Cairo and free flights back to Australia.

Industry Minister Ed Husic said the international community was closely watching the situation in the Middle East, amid calls for a de-escalation of violence in the region.

“I was worried very early on about where things would head, and the impacts that would be borne by innocent Palestinian families,” he told ABC Radio on Friday.

“There’s been a very sizeable impact in terms of lives that have been lost, particularly around kids.

“A lot of people in Australia are genuinely worried by that.

“This is a real issue in terms of potential overreach, and I think the international community is asking, pleading for moderation and hoping that that happens.”

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