Northern Ireland

Belfast-born Khalid hopeful of being reunited with his young children soon as first Irish citizens leave Gaza

Belfast-born Palestinian Khalid El-Astal (top right) recently lost his wife Ashwak after an explosion in Gaza. As Irish citizens there are being cleared to cross the border, Khalid is hoping his two young children Ali (4) and Sara (1) can also cross within days
Belfast-born Palestinian Khalid El-Astal (top right) recently lost his wife Ashwak after an explosion in Gaza. As Irish citizens there are being cleared to cross the border, Khalid is hoping his two young children Ali (4) and Sara (1) can also cross withi Belfast-born Palestinian Khalid El-Astal (top right) recently lost his wife Ashwak after an explosion in Gaza. As Irish citizens there are being cleared to cross the border, Khalid is hoping his two young children Ali (4) and Sara (1) can also cross within days

AS the first Irish citizens and their dependents crossed the border from Gaza into Egypt on Wednesday, Belfast-born Palestinian Khalid El-Astal has said he is hoping his two young children can join them in the coming days.

Irish citizen Khalid (30) has lost several relatives since the hostilities erupted, including his wife Ashwak, mother and brother, and recently spoke to the Irish News of his ordeal during a brief visit to Belfast.

His young children Ali (4) and one-year-old Sara were also injured in a bomb blast, but remain in good health while sheltering at a hospital in a hospital in the southern Gazan city of Khan Yunis.

He has now learned they are eligible to cross the border with his brother-in-law, with hopes he will be notified soon.

“Some of the Irish citizens have crossed into Egypt but I am still waiting for the next list, maybe tomorrow or the day afterwards,” he said.

Currently staying near Dublin, Khalid said he wants to travel to Egypt as soon as possible to be with his children if they manage to cross.

“We are waiting till tomorrow and I hope we will get the names and everything will be good,” he said.

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Belfast born Palestinian Khalid El-Estal (30) his wife, Ashwak Jendia, was killed in Gaza along with his mother, brother, uncle and two cousins, his children Ali (4) and Sara (1) are still in Gaza with their grandparents. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN
Belfast born Palestinian Khalid El-Estal (30) his wife, Ashwak Jendia, was killed in Gaza along with his mother, brother, uncle and two cousins, his children Ali (4) and Sara (1) are still in Gaza with their grandparents. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN Belfast born Palestinian Khalid El-Estal (30) his wife, Ashwak Jendia, was killed in Gaza along with his mother, brother, uncle and two cousins, his children Ali (4) and Sara (1) are still in Gaza with their grandparents. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN

With the sudden loss of his wife, Khalid had previously urged the Israeli government not to stand in the way of being reunited with his children.

 “These people are innocent. If you are fighting some people, it doesn’t mean that you should destroy everything.

“Please let them out. My mother and wife were innocent.”

Belfast born Palestinian Khalid El-Estal (30) pictured at a pro-Palestinian mural in west Belfast, his wife, Ashwak Jendia, was killed in Gaza along with his mother, brother, uncle and two cousins, his children Ali (4) and Sara (1) are still in Gaza with their grandparents. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN
Belfast born Palestinian Khalid El-Estal (30) pictured at a pro-Palestinian mural in west Belfast, his wife, Ashwak Jendia, was killed in Gaza along with his mother, brother, uncle and two cousins, his children Ali (4) and Sara (1) are still in Gaza with Belfast born Palestinian Khalid El-Estal (30) pictured at a pro-Palestinian mural in west Belfast, his wife, Ashwak Jendia, was killed in Gaza along with his mother, brother, uncle and two cousins, his children Ali (4) and Sara (1) are still in Gaza with their grandparents. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN