Brantford mother 'so happy' 8-year-old returning home from Gaza
Eight-year-old Salma Abuzaiter is on her way home.
Abuzaiter, a Brantford resident, found herself in the Gaza Strip.
Thursday, she was among a number of Canadians flown to Jordan, from where she would be sent back to Canada.
That marked the end of a trip which began in June, when Abuzaiter accompanied her father – an emergency physician based in Gaza City – to visit family.
“She is coming home, and I’m so happy about that,” said mother Wesam Abuzaiter.
“(There’s) no way that she’s going to be away from me anymore.”
When violence broke out in Gaza last month, Abuzaiter’s mother wanted her to come home – but her father didn’t want to leave his patients, and getting the eight-year-old home on her own was proving difficult for family members.
Wesam Abuzaiter credits the Canadian government with helping make arrangements for her daughter’s return.
“Canadian officials … have been engaged with the Abuzaiters since first being made aware of Salma’s case, and quickly offered the family multiple options for her safe departure from Gaza,” Brant MP Phil McColeman said in a statement.
“I commend Ms. Abuzaiter for her resolve throughout this ordeal and I commend our Canadian personnel on the ground in Ramallah, Tel Aviv and Amman for their hard work and commitment to bringing so many Canadians to safety.”
The Canadian government has had a travel advisory about the Gaza Strip in place since 2005.
Abuzaiter is expected to be back in Canada by Friday evening.
A vigil planned to take place Friday night in Brantford will go on as scheduled, but as a celebration of her return home.