SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva greeted nearly a day of flights at Brasilia air base on Monday after the Brazilian government successfully rescued people from the Gaza Strip after a month of negotiations. of 32 nationals. .
The Brazilians, who crossed the Rafah border between Gaza and Egypt on Sunday and were taken to Cairo, boarded an Embraer presidential plane borrowed by Lula this morning and flew to Brazil via Las Palmas, Spain.
Lula greeted passengers with hugs and kisses as they arrived on Monday night, expressing support for Brazilians still in Gaza or arriving from the Gaza corridor and condemning the killing of civilians in Gaza.
“I have never seen such brutal, inhumane violence against innocent people,” Lula said in a brief speech on the tarmac.
It was the tenth flight launched by the South American country to repatriate citizens from the region following the outbreak of war between Israel, the West Bank and Gaza last month.
Monday’s flight brought the total number of people rescued to 1,477, including three Bolivians, 11 Palestinians and one Jordanian citizen, as well as 53 pets.
Gaza has been under bombardment by Israel, which aims to eliminate Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, which attacked Israel from Gaza on October 7, killing about 1,200 people.
Medical authorities in Gaza say more than 11,000 people have been confirmed dead, about 40% of them children.
Lula responded to early criticism of Hamas’ attacks on Israel and Israel’s response.
“If Hamas committed acts of terrorism and did what it did, then the state of Israel also committed some acts of terrorism without taking into account that children were not at war, women were not at war,” he said.
(Reporting by Peter Siqueira and Gabriel Araujo; Additional reporting by Kylie Madry; Writing by Gabriel Araujo and Brendan O’Boyle; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)