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Canada Pledges More Visas For Gazans, Says It’s ‘Horrified’ By Israeli Attack On Rafah

Canada said it will issue visas to 5,000 Gazans on Monday. This is more than it had originally pledged. This comes after Ottawa said was “horrified” by an Israeli airstrike in Rafah.

The airstrike had triggered a blaze causing 45 deaths on Sunday. It triggered a fire in a tent camp in Rafah. The strike prompted strong protests from global leaders, including Canada.

The visa, which is for Canadians’ relatives living in the enclave, are a five-fold increase from the 1,000 temporary resident visas. They are allotted under a special program that Canada announced in December.

Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller said that while movement out of Gaza is not currently possible, the situation may change at any time.

“With this cap increase, we will be ready to help more people as the situation evolves.”

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Miller’s spokesperson also said that 448 Gazans had been issued a temporary visa, including 254 under a policy not related to the special visa program. Forty-one have arrived in Canada so far under this programme.

Canada’s foreign minister Melanie Joly, said in a statement that her country was “horrified by strikes that killed Palestinian civilians in Rafah.” She added that Canada does not support an Israeli military operation in Rafah.

“This level of human suffering must come to an end. We demand an immediate ceasefire.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the strike had not intended to cause civilian casualties. He added that something had gone “tragically wrong.” Israel’s military said it was investigating the incident.

With inputs from Reuters