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Pinoy Abroad

56 more Filipinos have left Gaza, says Marcos

President Ferdinand "Bongbong'' Marcos Jr. on Friday said 56 more Filipinos have left Gaza amid the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas that has left thousands dead and many more injured. 

"Happy to hear the update that 56 more Filipinos have left Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, joining the 42 who had previously crossed," Marcos said on X (formerly Twitter).

"This brings the total to 98 out of the 137 originally in Gaza, now en route to Cairo."

The President noted that 34 of the 98 Filipinos have boarded their flight to Qatar and will arrive in Manila later at 4:30 p.m. 

"The safe journey of our nationals is of utmost importance, and we look forward to welcoming them home," Marcos said. 

Forty-two Filipinos have already successfully exited Gaza in two batches -- two Filipino doctors on November 2 and 40 on Wednesday.

Of the 40 Filipinos from the second batch, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said only 34 are set to arrive in the Philippines from Cairo at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

The expected exit of Filipinos from Gaza on November 4 and 5 did not push through due to the suspension of the opening of the border to Egypt over security risks.

This was after an Israeli air strike on an ambulance being used to evacuate the wounded from besieged northern Gaza killed 15 people and injured 60 others, the Hamas-controlled enclave's health ministry said.

Israel's military said that it had hit an ambulance "being used by a Hamas terrorist cell".

According to DFA Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega, 16 Palestinian spouses of Filipinos in Gaza have been allowed by the Israeli government to leave the occupied territory.

However, some Palestinian spouses of Filipinos are prohibited from leaving Gaza after failing to pass for a security clearance set by the Israeli government, according to De Vega.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, which is another Palestinian territory under Israeli occupation, De Vega said two more Filipinos are set to be repatriated amid the “extremely tense” situation there.

Of the 125 Filipinos in the West Bank, two have already been repatriated. They arrived in the Philippines on Wednesday.

“We were waiting for others to indicate that they would like to go home because we are under Alert Level 3 in the West Bank, voluntary repatriation,” De Vega said in an interview on ANC.

Israel launched the strikes after Hamas gunmen attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing about 300 soldiers and 1,100 people, and taking more than 200 hostages. —KBK, GMA Integrated News