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World News

Pregnant British woman ‘trapped’ in Cairo after fleeing Gaza, her family says | World News

today06/11/2023

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A pregnant British woman is “trapped” in Cairo, her family says, after a “disaster” in the UK government’s response to some refugees arriving from Gaza.

Yusra Alshanti, 25, from Manchester, crossed into Egypt on Friday via the border point at Rafah.

Six months pregnant, she was accompanied by her two young daughters, who also have British passports, and her Palestinian husband Ibrahim Taha.

Speaking to Sky News, Yusra’s father, Nasser Alshanti, praised the Foreign Office’s initial efforts to get the whole family into Egypt.

He said special permission was granted for Ibrahim to cross the border.

UK officials had also “assured” Mr Alshanti that, when the family reached Cairo, his son-in-law would be granted a UK visa.

Yusra Alshanti's husband, Ibrahim, is Palestinian
Image:
Yusra Alshanti’s husband, Ibrahim, is Palestinian

He said he was assured by the Foreign Office that there was a border force team and an immigration team on the ground in Egypt to help people get back to the UK, “so there would be no problem”.

But after a meeting on Saturday morning with officials in Cairo, the family has now discovered there is no guarantee of a visa.

“When they met the Home Office team, it was a disaster,” Mr Alshanti commented.

“They said ‘we can do nothing for you’.”

Yusra crossed into Egypt via the border point at Rafah
Image:
Yusra crossed into Egypt via the border point at Rafah

After further inquiries, the couple were told that to apply for a visa would cost almost £2,000 and there was no guidance on how long the process would take.

“My daughter says she won’t leave her husband behind, and she’d rather they stayed in Gaza than be faced with this,” Mr Alshanti said.

“Unless he gets a UK visa, Ibrahim will soon be illegally staying in Egypt.”

He added: “They are trapped in the middle. Yusra is heavily pregnant and has already missed two scans.”

Nasser Alshanti says the family has only $100
Image:
Nasser Alshanti says the family has only $100

The situation has been made worse for the young family as the UK-funded emergency accommodation is only available for 72 hours – and for Ms Alshnati’s family, it runs out on Monday morning.

“Officials are aware that they’ve been living in a refugee camp, away from their home, for more than a month”, Mr Alshanti said.

“Any money they were able to take with them, they have now spent. They have just only $100, so how they will stay in Egypt? How many weeks? How many days?

“We don’t know how they will buy anything, how they will eat. Still, we don’t know. Nothing at all.”

The Foreign Office confirmed it is aware of the family’s struggles.

It said in a statement: “This continues to be a complex and challenging situation. We remain in contact with British Nationals in the region to provide them with the latest information.”



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Written by: lwrradio

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