Emotional scenes as Gaza evacuees arrive in Dublin

There have been emotional scenes at Dublin Airport as the first group of Irish citizens and dependants returned from Gaza.

One person arriving described the territory as "a disaster" with no electricity, medical supplies, food or water.

"I feel safe now finally after 40 days," Saeed Sadeq told Irish broadcaster RTÉ.

"Finally I will be able to live now as a normal person, eating drinking, having fun with my family, feeling safe."

Ibraham AlAgha, his wife Hamid and their three children were also among the arrivals, however, he did not speak to reporters as he wanted to attend a large pro-Palestine protest in the city.

Some 24 Irish citizens and dependents exited Gaza on Friday, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has said.

It means the department has helped a total of 50 people leave Gaza via the Rafah border crossing into Egypt.

Among them were four-year-old Ali and one-year-old Sara, whose Belfast-born father had appealed for their exit.

The children are due to arrive in Dublin on Sunday morning.

Ali and Sara in Egypt on Friday after leaving Gaza via the Rafah crossing
Ali and Sara in Egypt on Friday after leaving Gaza via the Rafah crossing

Israel began striking Gaza after Hamas's 7 October attacks, in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 hostages were taken.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says more than 12,000 people have been killed in the territory since 7 October - of whom more than 4,500 were children.

A spokesperson for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said only "small numbers" of Irish citizens or dependents, who have expressed a wish to leave, remain in Gaza.

"The department remains in contact in each case and will continue to work consistently with the relevant authorities to ensure they are able to leave Gaza as soon as possible," they added.

Meanwhile, thousands of protestors took part in a pro-Palestinian march in Belfast city centre on Saturday.

The demonstration, organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, has been calling for an end to Israeli attacks in Gaza.

Protestors gathered in Writer’s Square before marching along Royal Avenue and Donegall Place to City Hall.

Demonstrators at the rally carried clothes lines with baby clothes on them to represent children who have been killed in Gaza.

A number of Sinn Féin politicians attended the rally including West Belfast MP Paul Maskey and North Belfast assembly member Carál Ní Chuilín.

There have been a number of pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli demonstrations held in Belfast since the violence erupted.

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