Eight-year-old Salma Abuzaiter from Brantford, Ont., is coming home Friday after her mother asked for help from Canadian officials to retrieve her daughter from the warzone in Gaza.
The girl's father, working as a physician in Gaza, instead escorted her safely to the border during a break in the fighting.
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“Salma, she’s on her way, coming back,” said Wesam Abuzaiter. "She is in good hands."
Abuzaiter’s husband, Hassan Abuzuiter, is working as a pediatric emergency room physician in the region and did not feel he could leave his work with wounded civilian children to transport his daughter himself, Wesam Abuzaiter said Tuesday.
But on Thursday morning, he said in an email to CBC Hamilton that he had escorted his daughter safely.
'"I am a taxpayer. All I asked [the government] for was just only logistic help, not money, I didn’t ask more than that.' - Wesam Abuzaiter, mother of Salma Abuzaiter
Wesam Abuzaiter said that during the current ceasefire, the need for emergency physicians had lessened somewhat and her husband could take his daughter to the care of Canadian representatives at the Erez border crossing with Israel.
“I didn’t convince him,” she said. “I knew he would be taking the right choice at the right time.”
Salma will be flown from Amman, Jordan, to Toronto.
Wesam Abuzaiter said Canadian officials required her to pay for the ticket. She expects her daughter home in about 24 hours, she said.
Nearly 1,900 Palestinians killed, UN says
Wesam Abuzaiter said she was shocked at the vitriol in the reader comments about her story this week.
"I am a taxpayer," she said. "All I asked [the government] for was just only logistic help, not money, I didn’t ask more than that."
She said she would expect her fellow Canadians not to be judgmental.
"We do have the best of [every culture] in this country," she said.
"Do they think that if this girl was Indian that I am not going to be the first one who supports her case?" she.
Nearly 1,900 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, with three-quarters of them civilians, according to the United Nations. Israel says some 900 Palestinian militants were among the dead. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and three civilians inside Israel have also been killed.
The ceasefire is set to expire at 8 a.m. local time Friday. An Egyptian security official said Cairo was pressing Israel for an extension.
Israel launched airstrikes on July 8 that it said were aimed at stopping rocket fire, and expanded the operation on July 17 by sending in ground forces to destroy a network of tunnels used to stage attacks.
Gaza conflict: Return to normalcy after Hamas-Israel ceasefire