Dr Abdel Hammad has made it over the Rafah Crossing into Egypt from where his family hope he will make a safe journey back to the UK (Picture: Supplied)
Dr Abdel Hammad is among those who have been allowed to leave the Palestinian territory amid a major Israeli ground and air offensive.
The transplant surgeon, who works at Royal Liverpool University Hospital, became stranded under the heavy bombardment after arriving a day before Hamas began its mass incursion on October 7.
His son, Dr Salim Hammad, from Goring, Oxfordshire, told Metro.co.uk that his dad has now made it out safely — but added that his ‘heart goes out’ to other civilians unable to leave amid the Israel Defence Forces’ (IDF) large-scale military operation.
Salim said: ‘He’s been there now for about five hours waiting on the Egyptian side. Hopefully he should be able to get out now that he’s through the Palestinian side and he’s in no-man’s land.
‘It’s still a bit of a waiting game for now, but he got a lot further than he did yesterday, that’s for sure.
‘I can’t wait to have him back really. It will be a month tomorrow that he got there. We’ve been really, really worried about his safe return for the last month, with lots of sleepless nights.
‘We just can’t wait to have him back.’
Dr Abdel Hammad became stranded in Gaza after travelling out for his life-saving humanitarian work in the Palestinian territory (Picture: Supplied)
More than 9,000 people have been killed in Gaza since October 7, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Israel has said that the Hamas-led attack killed more than 1,400 people within its borders, mostly civilians.
The IDF says it is targeting terrorist infrastructure such as tunnels, compounds and rocket launchers. The Palestinian enclave has been blockaded with only a trickle of aid allowed through, amid reports of dire conditions on the ground from international humanitarian groups.
More than 400 people with foreign or dual nationality were allowed to leave southern Gaza into Egypt via the crossing yesterday, according to the United Nations, with more expected to do so over the course of today.
A daily list is being used by Egypt and Israel to decide who should be allowed to cross, with roughly 200 British nationals and their dependents thought to be trapped in the strip.
‘My heart goes out to all the people in Gaza who can’t leave,’ Salim said.
‘As a British national, my father is one of the lucky few who can leave but there are two million people who can’t.’
Abdel, 67, was in Gaza as part of his decade-long work with the Liverpool International Transplant Initative to carry out kidney transplants and train local doctors.
Speaking to ITV, the charity volunteer described the aerial bombardment of Gaza as ‘terrifying’ as he took shelter in a Gaza City United Nations compound with other foreign nationals.
He then moved south to Rafah after the IDF told civilians in the north of the territory to evacuate.
People enter the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip before crossing into Egypt on November 1 (Picture: Mohammed Abed/AFP
Palestinians stand around a building destroyed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Rafah on October 29 (Picture: AP Photo/Hatem Ali)
Around 7,000 foreigners will be helped over the crossing in batches, according to the Egyptian authorities.
Wounded Palestinians and their carers are also being allowed over the border for medical treatment on the Egyptian side.
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) said yesterday that the crossing will open for ‘time-limited periods’ to allow specific groups of foreign nationals and seriously wounded to leave.
In an update on X, the FCDO said: ‘We have agreed a list of British nationals that want to leave Gaza with Egyptian and Israeli authorities.
‘We will be informed in advance when those on the list can use the crossing to ensure we can provide assistance.’
Do you have a story you wish to share? Please contact [email protected]
The surgeon’s son said his ‘heart goes out’ to other civilians not able to leave the Gaza Strip.