Nearly three dozen Brazilians who had been trapped inside Gaza for weeks, and whose predicament had driven a diplomatic wedge between Brasilia and Israel, crossed the border into Egypt on Sunday, the foreign ministry said.
“The group of 32 Brazilians and families are already in Egyptian territory, where they were received by a team from the Brazilian embassy in Cairo, which is responsible for the final step of the repatriation operation,” the foreign ministry wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.
The Brazilians are due back in Brazil late on Monday evening, the ministry said, and are expected to meet with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Two of the group decided to stay for personal reasons, it said. In total, 17 children, nine women and six men exited via the Rafah crossing, through which foreign nationals and aid have been transported back and forth into Gaza.
Gaza has been under intense bombardment by Israel, with 11,180 people killed in the besieged Palestinian enclave.
A surprise 7 October attack launched by Hamas inside Israeli territory killed some 1,200 people.
The slow pace of release of the trapped Brazilians increased friction between Brazil and Israel, which erupted last week after Israeli spy agency Mossad said it helped foil a Hezbollah attack in Brazil.
An appearance by Israel’s ambassador to Brazil with far-right former president Jair Bolsonaro, a staunch Israel ally and longtime Lula political foe, also irked Brazilian officials.
Source: The New Arab