Justin Tang Archives The Canadian Press Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly
A 33-year-old young woman who lived in Ottawa is the third Canadian victim confirmed dead in Israel since deadly attacks by the militant group Hamas on Saturday.
The Jewish Federation of Ottawa confirmed around 3 p.m. Wednesday the death of Adi Vital-Kaploun, a mother who lived in Israel. The lady had Canadian nationality and has family in Ottawa. Her children were saved “miraculously,” a family statement said, but Ms. Vital-Kaploun “was murdered by terrorists in her home, simply because she is Jewish,” it read.
Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe said he was “devastated” by the murder of Adi Vital-Kaploun. “I have spoken to Adi's mother and family members to offer my support and deepest condolences on behalf of the residents of Ottawa,” he wrote on Facebook.
< h2 class="h2-intertitle">“A terrorist attack”
Three Canadians were killed and three others are missing in the context of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed earlier in the day on Wednesday. Mélanie Joly indicated at a press conference in Ottawa that two deaths of Canadians who were in Israel had been confirmed, while a third was then presumed.
“I had the opportunity to speak with Alexandre Look's family yesterday, and it was one of the most difficult calls of my life,” she confessed. The death of the 33-year-old Montrealer was announced by his family on Monday.
The minister says she maintains constant contact with the families of Canadians still missing, while authorities work with local authorities to obtain information.
Minister Joly, however, did not want to confirm whether Canadians were among the hostages in the region. “I don’t want to increase the value of these hostages and put their lives in danger,” she said. Ms. Joly added that she had been in contact with the chief hostage negotiator in Israel and that a group of experts will be sent to support his team.
Like the rest of the Canadian political class, the minister has repeatedly condemned the “terrorist attack” carried out by the Hamas group, while emphasizing that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to “live in peace.”
“We know that Hamas is not the Palestinian people. It does not represent their aspirations and offers nothing but more chaos, loss and heartbreak. The violence must stop, the hostages must be released, and Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives must be protected,” she said at the start of her speech.
Canadian Armed Forces planes will take part in evacuation flights for Canadians from Tel Aviv by the weekend. These flights will be available to all Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their families.
The Canadian military is sending two CC-150 Polaris planes to carry out the evacuations, said General Wayne Eyre, chief of the defense staff. These planes will transport evacuated Canadians to Athens, Greece. From there, an Air Canada plane will bring passengers back to the country.
This evacuation operation is, however, “rare” and “exceptional”, since commercial flights are still available for nationals from Tel Aviv to Greece. “Since there were so many flight cancellations and delays, it created a huge delay. The options [for Canadians in Tel Aviv] were really becoming more limited,” the minister explained.
The number of flights has not yet been determined and will ultimately depend on the number of Canadians who have registered with Global Affairs Canada. There are 4,249 Canadians currently registered in Israel and 476 Canadians registered in the West Bank and Gaza. Global Affairs Canada responded to approximately 2,000 inquiries.
Canadians in Israel reported being unable to reach the Canadian Embassy over the Thanksgiving weekend and being frustrated by the lack of assistance from the Canadian government. Minister Joly, however, reiterated that the embassy was open and that consular services have been operational 24 hours every day since the attacks began.
As registration with Global Affairs Canada does not is not mandatory and operates rather on a voluntary basis, the minister explained that registered Canadians were able to receive information during the weekend.
Mélanie Joly also assured that she was in the process of assess options for evacuating Canadians stuck in Gaza, “where citizens are living in an extremely difficult context.” “We will work with the UN to see what will be possible in the coming days,” she said.
With Zacharie Goudreault, Le Devoir