Agonising wait at border

PETALING JAYA: A distraught Malaysian stranded in Gaza with her Palestinian husband, Nurul Ain Haron, has recounted her agonising wait at the Rafah Border Crossing before help finally arrived.

It was a long wait, the 37-year-old said in a video call with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after she and her husband Mohamed AM Shaat, 33, left the conflict zone.

Nurul Ain and her husband in a video call with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.Nurul Ain and her husband in a video call with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.Nurul Ain said that as her husband holds a Palestinian passport, their journey to exit Gaza through the Rafah Border Crossing was not easy and required a long wait.

“Palestinians can pass but it is not easy, thankfully we are safe,” she said.

It was the first time Nurul Ain, who has been married to Mohamed for six years, travelled to Gaza. The couple arrived on Oct 1, then the war broke out a week later.

She said they initially planned to stay in Gaza but decided to leave when the conflict escalated.

“Alhamdulillah, thank you for all the assistance, prayers and support. So far, we are all good,” she said.

Her husband Mohamed also said that his family in Gaza was safe, at least for now.

“My family, Alhamdulillah, so far, are all right. I spoke to them last night (Sunday). Thank you so much, Malaysia,” he added.

The couple’s safe passage out of Gaza was made possible by the personal intervention of Anwar, who sought assistance from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to facilitate the evacuation process.

The couple was successfully evacuated through the Rafah Border Crossing between Gaza and Egypt at 8.23pm local time (2.23am Malaysian time) on Sunday.

As they arrived, Anwar and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir called to inquire about their well-being.

In the four-minute video call, Anwar – who is in Mecca with his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail – expressed relief for the couple’s safe evacuation.

He also pledged that the government would do all it could to continue assisting the couple to reach Malaysia.

Towards the end of the call, he let Azizah speak briefly to the couple.

“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” Wan Azizah said.

Israeli air strikes in Gaza have killed more than a dozen people and destroyed the Al-Shifa Hospital’s main cardiac ward, as fighting continues in the besieged strip for the 37th consecutive day, reported Al-Jazeera.

At Al-Shifa, Gaza’s main hospital, health officials said thousands of medics, patients and displaced people are trapped with no electricity and dwindling supplies.

The World Health Organisation also said it had lost all communication with contacts there, where 37 premature babies are at risk of dying as fuel in the facility is running out.

Israel has waged a devastating bombing campaign and ground incursion in the besieged Gaza Strip since Oct 7, killing at least 11,000 Palestinians, more than a third of them children.

The United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees said at least 100 of its employees have been killed in the war.

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