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PH ready to assist Filipinos in conflict-stricken Gaza


08:48 PM November 16th, 2012

By: Fat Reyes, November 16th, 2012 08:48 PM


MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday said the Philippine government was ready to assist Filipinos in Gaza amid the escalating tensions there.

“There are about 100 Filipinos and members of their family in Gaza. The Philippine government remains ready to assist in getting them out of harm’s way in light of the evolving situation there,” Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez, DFA spokesperson, said in a text message.

“The Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv has likewise advised the Filipino communities in Israel to be alert and ready for contingencies if the situation continues to escalate,” Hernandez added.

The Gaza Strip has been an area of concern in recent days following a flare-up of violence between Israeli and Gaza based groups.

Agence France Presse earlier reported that Ahmed Jaabari, a top Hamas commander, was among seven people killed in more than 20 Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

Hernandez said that as of Friday, there were no reported Filipino casualties or Filipinos injured because of the violence. He noted that there were 41,000 Filipinos in Israel and that most of them were caregivers.

“They are relatively safe and live in houses with bomb shelters,” Hernandez said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel and called on Israel to exercise maximum restraint.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has also voiced its concern over the violence which it said “put civilians at great risk.”

“We support the calls of the Secretary-General for an immediate de-escalation of tensions and his demand that both sides should do everything to avoid further escalation and must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians at all times,” the UN said.

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