Canada Pledges Visas for 5,000 Gaza Residents Related to Canadians

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP)
Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP)
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Canada Pledges Visas for 5,000 Gaza Residents Related to Canadians

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP)
Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP)

Canada said on Monday it would grant temporary visas to 5,000 Gaza residents under a special program for Canadians' relatives living in the war-torn enclave, a preparatory move in case they are able to leave in the future.

That figure is an increase from the 1,000 temporary resident visas allotted under a special program for Gaza announced in December, the immigration ministry said in a statement, adding that many people had expressed interest.

"While movement out of Gaza is not currently possible, the situation may change at any time. With this cap increase, we will be ready to help more people as the situation evolves," Immigration Minister Marc Miller said.

The minister has previously said leaving Gaza is extremely difficult and dependent on approval from Israel.

In one of its latest attacks, an Israeli airstrike triggered a massive blaze killing 45 people in a tent camp in the Gaza city of Rafah, officials said on Monday, prompting an outcry from global leaders.

Canada has been sharing the names of Gaza residents who have passed preliminary screening to local authorities to secure their exit, Miller said. Israel and Egypt are important to the program's efforts toward reuniting families in Canada, the minister said.

A spokesperson for Miller said some Gaza residents had arrived in Canada under the program, but a precise tally was not immediately available.

Nearly 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's offensive in Gaza, according to the local health ministry, and an estimated 1.7 million people, more than 75% of Gaza's population, have been displaced, according to the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.

Israel launched its military campaign after Hamas-led militants attacked southern Israeli communities on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Rafah strike.



Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
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Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)

Iran's supreme court has overturned Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi's death sentence on charges linked to the country's 2022-23 period of unrest, his lawyer wrote in a post on the X social media platform on Saturday.

"The death sentence of #Toomaj_Salehi was overturned and based on the appeal decision ...of the Supreme Court, the case will be referred to (another) branch for consideration," attorney Amir Raisian wrote on X.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the ruling.

Salehi's songs supported protests sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish Iranian woman arrested for allegedly wearing an "improper" hijab.