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Poland spares no effort to evacuate Poles from Gaza says security official

Poland continues its efforts to help Poles leave the Gaza Strip and evacuate them to a safe place, a senior security official has said.

“There are Polish citizens in the Gaza Strip. There are over 25 persons who had been in the Gaza Strip before the terrorist attack. One of them, Alex Danzig, is being held hostage,” Jacek Siewiera, head of the National Security Bureau (BBN), said on Saturday.

“Poland remembers them and has been doing its best to bring them to a safe place,” Siewiera told reporters during a visit to Israel.

He also expressed hope that “in the coming hours, days,” some of them would be able to leave Gaza.

Poles have been stranded in Gaza after Israel launched a massive air and land assault on Palestine in response to Hamas attacks on southern Israel on October 7.

Poland is awaiting approval from Israel to facilitate the evacuation of its citizens from the Gaza Strip through the Rafah land crossing situated along the border with Egypt.

Siewiera and Presidential Minister Wojciech Kolarski met in Israel on Saturday with a delegation of the National Security Council.

“Speaking on behalf of the president, I have told the Israeli side that Poland recognises Israel’s right to defend against Hamas terrorists but I also have underlined that …it is necessary to observe international law during military operations and save the life of civilians in the Gaza Strip,” Siewiera said. 

Siwiera also said that Poland had offered to deliver humanitarian aid for civilians in the Gaza Strip and that the offer had been accepted. 

President Andrzej Duda has recently decided to use the Polish Military Contingent in Egypt to help in the evacuation of Polish citizens entrapped in the Gaza Strip.

“During the period from November 10 to November 19, 2023, the Polish Military Contingent (PKW) in the Arab Republic of Egypt will be deployed in the evacuation operations of citizens of the Republic of Poland residing in the Gaza Strip,” Duda announced on Thursday. 

As part of the NEON operation, Poland has already evacuated over 1,500 Polish citizens and foreign nationals from Israel.

Palestinian officials said on Friday that 11,078 Gaza residents had been killed in air and artillery strikes since Oct. 7, around 40 percent of them children.

According to Israel, about 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 taken hostage by Hamas militants last month.

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