The 11 Sri Lankans who crossed to Egypt from the Gaza Strip have arrived in the island on November (05) onboard a flight from Doha in Qatar.

The group, which is from two families includes two adults and nine children, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Issuing a statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry stated that the Consular Affairs Division of the ministry coordinated the arrangements for their return in collaboration with Sri Lanka Missions in Cairo, Ramallah and Tel Aviv. 

Foreign Ministry officials received the returning Sri Lankan nationals, upon their arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo.

The entry of the 11 Sri Lankans from Gaza Strip into Egypt via Rafah Border Crossing was facilitated by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Cairo in coordination with the Egyptian authorities on November 02, 2023, the statement added. 

The Embassy officials visited the Rafah Border to receive the stranded Sri Lankans. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs facilitated the arrangements of logistics and air transportation of the returnees with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), according to the ministry.

On Thursday (Nov. 02), the group of 17 Sri Lankans who were trapped in the Gaza Strip amidst the Israel-Hamas conflict were permitted to leave the war-torn Palestinian enclave and enter Egypt via the Rafah border crossing, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Tel Aviv communicated.

However, on that account, 15 of these Sri Lankans were expected to reach Egypt, while the remaining two were most likely to stay behind in Palestine, according to the Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE).

Nevertheless, 13 of the 17 Sri Lankans who were permitted to leave Gaza had been placed in an area between the entrance to the Rafah border crossing and Egypt, since the other four persons were not permitted to leave Palestine due to a lack of security.

Later on Friday (Nov. 03), the Representative Office of Sri Lanka in Palestine announced that a group of 11 Sri Lankans had reached Egypt after crossing the Rafah border, and that they were preparing necessary arrangements to facilitate the their repatriation.

Meanwhile, injured Palestinians and foreign nationals began arriving in Egypt from Gaza for the first time on Wednesday (Nov. 01) since the Israel-Hamas war started to escalate in early October.