Home US Two American-Palestinian brothers ‘taken by Israeli soldiers during raid on Gaza shelter’: Family says they’ve been pleading with State Department to evacuate them for MONTHS

Two American-Palestinian brothers ‘taken by Israeli soldiers during raid on Gaza shelter’: Family says they’ve been pleading with State Department to evacuate them for MONTHS

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Two American-Palestinian brothers 'taken by Israeli soldiers during raid on Gaza shelter': Family says they've been pleading with State Department to evacuate them for MONTHS

Two Palestinian-American brothers were detained by Israeli soldiers after a raid on their Gaza shelter, according to relatives who say they had begged the United States to evacuate them for months.

Borak Alagha, 18, and Hashem Alagha, 20, were born in the Chicago area, before their family moved to Canada and then eventually to Gaza.

The State Department had reportedly approved their evacuation months ago, but their relatives say they actually failed to secure their departure despite their pleas and that they have now been kidnapped by Israeli forces.

they are between less than 50 US citizens It is known that he is still trying to leave isolated Gaza, almost four months after the start of the war between Israel and Hamas.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the administration “will speak with our Israeli counterparts” about the brothers’ reported detentions.

Hundreds of thousands of people are at risk due to lack of food aid in northern and central Gaza, according to the UN

Southern Gaza Strip

Southern Gaza Strip

Cousin Yasmeen Elagha, a law student at Northwestern University, said Israeli forces entered the family home in the town of al-Masawi, near Khan Younis, around 5 a.m. Gaza time on Thursday. .

The soldiers tied and blindfolded the women and children of the family and placed them outside the house.

The two American brothers, their Canadian citizen father, a mentally disabled uncle and two other adult male relatives were taken by the Israelis and have not returned, Elagha said.

They also took men from a neighboring house.

So were other adult male relatives from another Alagha family household, for a total of about 20 family members detained, the American cousin said.

They were taking refuge in a small house in the Al-Mawasi neighborhood, near Khan Younis, after Israeli airstrikes destroyed it.

They have had food shortages and have resorted to drinking dirty water.

Elagha told the Chicago Sun Times that he had been “screaming this at the top of his lungs for the past few months.”

Palestinians mourn the shrouded bodies of relatives killed in an overnight Israeli bombing raid in the southern Gaza Strip at Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah on February 8, 2024.

Palestinians mourn the shrouded bodies of relatives killed in an overnight Israeli bombing raid in the southern Gaza Strip at Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah on February 8, 2024.

Palestinians watch the destruction after an Israeli attack in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

He added: “And I told the United States government every step of the way: ‘Something will happen.'” They are already in danger and will be in even greater danger if you do not act.

He said the family had made four attempts to leave through the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt, but they had been rejected because their names had not been added to an official evacuation list.

Other American green card holders and close relatives of citizens and permanent residents also continue to struggle and cannot leave, despite requests to be allowed to leave, according to their relatives and American advocates.

An advocate for American families on Thursday blamed American officials for failing to act with more urgency to help remove the Alagha brothers and other Palestinian Americans, American residents and close relatives from danger in Gaza.

Arrest or death under an Israeli airstrike “were two of the biggest fears this family has always had.” And now the worst has happened,” said Maria Kari, an attorney with the Arab American Civil Rights League.

‘It could have been avoided. “It could have been avoided if the United States had defended this family more timely.”

More than half of Gaza's population is now crowded into Rafah, where Israel could launch an offensive.

More than half of Gaza’s population is now crowded into Rafah, where Israel could launch an offensive.

Palestinians watch the destruction after an Israeli attack in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Palestinians watch the destruction after an Israeli attack in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

The State Department said Thursday it was seeking more information about the reported detentions.

He cited privacy concerns for the brothers after failing to comment further.

US officials said in December that they had helped 1,300 Americans, green card holders and their eligible close family members leave Gaza since October 7.

In January, State Department officials declined to say how many people for whom the United States had requested permission to leave remained in Gaza, citing the “fluidity” of the situation.

The brothers would be among three American citizens detained by Israeli forces this week, at the same time that Secretary of State Antony Blinken was visiting the region to try to mediate with ally Israel and regional Arab leaders.

Relations between Israel and the United States has fallen of its rise immediately after the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel that sparked the war.

More recently, the two allies have not been publicly in sync on efforts to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, on the path to peace there and on some other issues.

Earlier this week, a 46-year-old man palestinian american woman, Samaher Esmail, was taken from her home in the occupied West Bank on Monday and detained.

The Israeli military said she had been arrested for “incitement on social media” and held for questioning.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel said Thursday it had no updates on his case.

Esmail’s family said the U.S. Embassy asked them Thursday for a list of her medications, but they would not be able to contact her before Monday.

Relatives said she needs the medicine for uterine cancer. The family said they still do not know where she is being held.

The Israeli military and the Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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