More Australians flee Gaza as Foreign Minister Penny Wong calls for ‘next steps towards ceasefire’ between Israel and Hamas

Another 31 Australian citizens, permanent residents and family members have left Gaza and made it to the safety of Egypt.

The evacuation took the number of Australians the federal government has helped get out of the conflict-ridden region to 62, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said.

“They are being supported by our consular staff in Egypt,” Wong said on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

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The group left via the Rafah crossing – the only access point between Egypt and Gaza.

“We are working with partners as part of international efforts to allow for the safe passage of foreign nationals from Gaza,” Senator Wong said.

“We all want to take the next steps towards a ceasefire, but it cannot be one-sided.”

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The minister last week backed a United Nations resolution for all sides in the Hamas-Israel war to protect civilians, particularly children, during the hostilities and calling for the immediate release of all hostages.

Hamas, considered a terrorist organisation in Australia, launched an attack on Israel on October 7, killing about 1200 people and taking more than 220 hostages.

Israel in response has bombarded Gaza in military action that has killed more than 12,000 people.

The conflict has sparked massive protests and vigils around the world, including six weeks of rallies around Australia by both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine groups.

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong says 62 Australians have now made it out of Gaza. Credit: AAP

In the latest protest, a small group of pro-Palestine activists gathered on Monday outside the electorate office of NSW Premier Chris Minns, with some attendees accusing the premier of backing Israel in the conflict.

A spokesperson for Minns declined to comment on the protest after the premier earlier said he would not allow car convoys to carry out Israel-Gaza related demonstrations.

“We won’t allow it to happen because we believe that is deliberately inflammatory,” Minns said.

On Sunday, thousands attended a pro-Palestine rally in Melbourne where John Shipton, the father of Julian Assange, said a “cloud of grief and rage” over the region had grown since war broke out.

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