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Diplomats evacuate Russians, CIS citizens from Gaza Strip to Egypt

The Russian embassy noted that the number of those willing to leave the Gaza Strip remained unknown
Russian Embassy in Egypt Dmitry Tarasov/TASS
Russian Embassy in Egypt
© Dmitry Tarasov/TASS

CAIRO, May 26. / TASS /. Russian diplomats began on Wednesday to evacuate citizens of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States countries to Egypt from the Gaza Strip, the country’s Embassy in Cairo reported.

"The evacuation of Russians and CIS citizens is underway," the diplomatic mission stated. "The consular department staff headed by Cairo’s consul went to the Egyptian Rafah bordering Gaza. After crossing the border, the evacuees will be taken to the Egyptian capital, from where they will take a special flight of the Emergencies Ministry to Zhukovsky, where <...> a press conference will be arranged."

The Russian embassy noted that the number of those willing to leave the Gaza Strip remained unknown. "Accurate data will appear when our fellow citizens cross the border and the convoy to Cairo is finally set up," according to the embassy. "It is about 03:00 p.m. (04:00 p.m. Moscow Time). In Cairo, they are expected around 10:00 p.m. (11:00 p.m. Moscow Time)."

On May 20, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing the evacuation of Russian and CIS citizens from the Gaza Strip who expressed such a desire. The president instructed the Foreign Ministry, the Foreign Intelligence Service and the Emergencies Ministry to determine specific dates and a framework for evacuating citizens to Moscow.

The Egypt-brokered ceasefire in the Gaza Strip came into force overnight to May 21, after eleven days of missile strikes. They followed the unrest near the Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, triggered by an Israeli court ruling to confiscate homes from several Arab families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The radicals fired more than 4,000 missiles against the territory of the Jewish state. In retaliation the Israeli military bombed hundreds of targets in the enclave. As a result, a total of 270 people, including women and children, were killed in Gaza and 13 people in Israel.