Global Affairs ‘aware of reports’ of missing Canadian in Gaza Strip

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Ottawa says it is aware of reports that another Canadian citizen has disappeared in the Gaza Strip.

Global Affairs Canada says it is providing consular assistance to the family, but cannot share more due to privacy concerns.

The Associated Press reports that Israeli forces arrested two young adult American brothers and their Canadian father in Gaza during an overnight raid.

The men’s relatives say they were taken from their home.

A U.S. Embassy official in Jerusalem reached by telephone from Washington said U.S. officials were aware of the situation and were following up with Israeli authorities.

The embassy official gave no details and ended the call without giving her name, while the Foreign Ministry and the Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Borak Alagha, 18, and Hashem Alagha, 20, two brothers born in the Chicago area, are among fewer than 50 U.S. citizens still trying to leave sealed-off Gaza as the war between Israel and Hamas enters its fifth month.

Cousin Yasmeen Elagha, a law student at Northwestern University, said Israeli forces entered the family’s home in the community of al-Muwasi, near the southern town of Khan Younis, around 5 a.m. , Gaza time, Thursday.

The soldiers tied up and blindfolded the women and children of the family and placed them outside the house, the cousin said.

The two American brothers, their Canadian citizen father, a mentally disabled uncle and two other adult male relatives were taken by the Israelis and remain missing, Elagha said.

A group of people wearing sutis sit at a table lined with water bottles.  American and Israeli flags hang in the background.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, second from left, meets with former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief Gadi Eisenkot, right, and former Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday February 8, 2024. (Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press)

Men from a neighboring house were also taken away. So did other adult male relatives from another Alagha home, for a total of about 20 inmates, the American cousin said.

A family social media account from Gaza also described the detentions.

Spokespeople for the U.S. State Department in Washington had no immediate comment on the alleged detention of the American brothers.

The brothers are believed to be among three American citizens arrested by Israeli forces this week, just as Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to the region to try to negotiate a ceasefire and hostage release deal with ally Israel and regional Arab leaders.

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