Couple expecting baby in Rafah plea to Canada for help as Israel plans next move

A refugee couple in the Gaza border town of Rafah are expecting their second child next week, but without a safe place to deliver, they’re hoping to escape to Canada as soon as possible.

The couple, Lama and Nedal Zaqout, are among 1.4 million refugees in Gaza, the majority of them crowded against the Egyptian border as they nervously await Israel’s next move.

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Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an interview with ABC News “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” suggested civilians in Rafah could flee north, saying there are “plenty of areas” that have been cleared by the army. He said Israel is developing a “detailed plan” to relocate them. But Israel’s offensive has caused widespread destruction, particularly in northern Gaza, and heavy fighting is still taking place in central Gaza and the southern city of Khan Younis.

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A ground operation in Rafah could also cut off one of the only avenues for delivering Gaza’s badly needed food and medical supplies.

If the relocation happens, it will be the fifth time Nedal and Lama have been forced to flee since Hamas first invaded Israel on Oct. 7.

“There’s nowhere left to go now,” Nedal said.

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He and his wife were “happy and stable” building their lives before the war, he says. Now, like many others, Nedal, Lama and their son are merely surviving in a tent at the Egyptian border without a reliable, steady supply of clean water and food.

After a complicated delivery of their first child, Nedal is plagued with worries for his wife and son, who he says has fallen into a “state of depression” from the trauma of the war.

“How will I deal with my wife’s pregnancy and her pain? Where will I go next? There is no hospital left suitable for my wife’s delivery, or even doctors, blood transfusions, painkillers, or care. ” he said.

“I ask the Canadian government to look at us with eyes of mercy and remove us from the situation and the area in which we are being betrayed. The most important thing is that my wife and my family be safe.”

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— with files from Global News’ David Akin and The Associated Press

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: World