CANBERRA - The government of Australia has granted hundreds of visas to Palestinians currently facing aggression by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).
The Australian Foreign Minister confirmed that 860 visas have been issued between October 7th and November 20th.
Though the exact details of how many people who got visas were able to fly out of the zone are not available, reports confirm that 65 individuals, assisted by the Australian government, crossed into Egypt via the Rafah border overnight.
The political observers seem to appreciate the role played by the Australian government in granting visas despite expected criticism at home.
The Australian Foreign Minister confirmed that those crossing the border are supported by consular staff in Cairo, adding that to date, a total of 127 Australians, permanent residents and their families have departed.
‘We would have wanted all Australians and permanent residents with innocent families to have been out within days but we recognize that this is a very difficult situation,’ she elaborated.
The minister also confirmed negotiating with the authorities in the United States, Qatar, and Egypt, to assist the crossings.
Meanwhile, the opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan wasn't pleased with the news and raised concerns about the procedure adopted to grant visas.
He said the government needs to come out, be transparent and inform about the processes taken to grant the visa, adding that the news was made public only through media.
On the other hand, the foreign minister addressed the concerns and said those who obtained Australian visas were subject to appropriate security checks by Border Force and authorities on just the same pattern as regular applicants.
Weeks after the bombing continued in Gaza, Israel and Palestine agreed on an agreement on Wednesday under which Hamas confirmed to release some hostages for a 4-day pause in fighting.
Hamsa has confirmed that under the rules of the truce, Israel will cease military activity in all regions of the Gaza Strip and would permit trucks for humanitarian, relief, medical and fuel aid to be provided to the Palestinians.
Reports in international media suggest that over 50 hostages will be released in a four-day truce, and there will be no fighting in the given duty. Under the deal, groups of 12-13 hostages will be released per day.
Tel Aviv has decided to release Palestinian captives and allow more humanitarian aid to enter the besieged enclave.
Under the Doha-mediated deal, hundreds of trucks of humanitarian, medical and fuel aid will enter Gaza. The starting time of the truce would be announced within the next 24 hours, per reports.
It was also reported that three Americans held by Palestine groups are likely to be among at least 50 hostages to be released.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Gaza has crossed 14,000 mark since the Israel-Hamas conflict started last month. Gaza officials said the dead included 5,840 children and 3,920 women, while more than 33,000 others were injured.
Pakistani currency remains stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 21, 2024 (Wednesday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.6 for buying and 282.4 for selling.
Euro comes down to 300 for buying and 303 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 350.5 for buying, and 354 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.15 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.35.
|UK Pound Sterling
|Hong Kong Dollar
|New Zealand Dollar