“We need to stop these bombings now,” says Portugal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs
Three Portuguese died in a bombing raid in the south of the Gaza Strip, an enclave where a war has been raging between Israeli forces and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas since the beginning of October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.
These three Portuguese, as well as two Palestinians who died in the same bombardment, were awaiting withdrawal on Portugal’s instructions, Portuguese diplomats said in a statement, lamenting the deaths.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, João Gomes Cravinho, lamented the deaths of the three Portuguese citizens in Gaza, adding that “one adult and two children” of Portuguese nationality died, along with two family members.
“The Portuguese government deeply regrets the death of five people this (Wednesday) afternoon in Gaza, three nationals and two family members, as a result of bombing,” João Gomes Cravinho told journalists at a hotel in Bissau.
“What happened this afternoon with the death of three nationals and two of their immediate families is further proof that this is not the right way forward. We need to stop these bombings now,” he argued.
For João Gomes Cravinho, “pause, ceasefire, truce, it doesn’t matter” what you call it, “as long as the result is the cessation of bombings that are causing civilian casualties”.
The ministry of foreign affairs also revealed, in the same statement, that the Egyptian authorities, in conjunction with the Israeli authorities, have authorised the departure from Gaza of 10 citizens signalled by Portugal to leave the territory – two of whom are Portuguese-Palestinians.
“The exit should take place, under the coordination of the local authorities, through the Rafah crossing in the coming hours, which will be open for the withdrawal of foreign citizens from Gaza to Egypt,” the ministry emphasised, noting that the exit should take place today through the Rafah crossing.
“The Portuguese Embassies in Cairo and Tel Aviv, as well as Portugal’s diplomatic representation in Ramallah and the Consular Emergency Office in Lisbon, are in contact with this group of citizens, as well as with the respective local authorities, in order to ensure their safe departure,” said the minister
“The repatriation of the citizens of this group who leave Egypt tomorrow (Thursday) and in the following days will be the responsibility of the Portuguese state, with accommodation and transport to Portugal being ensured,” he added.