Family of teen trapped in Gaza ask UK to help them reunite

When the war began, his parents had been visiting their other children in Britain and the 18-year-old was in Gaza

By Reuters

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Children write on the floor with coloured pieces of chalk during a Pro-Palestinian rally in London, on Wednesday. Photo: AFP
Children write on the floor with coloured pieces of chalk during a Pro-Palestinian rally in London, on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Published: Wed 7 Feb 2024, 7:39 PM

The family of a Palestinian teenager who is trapped in Gaza called on the British government on Wednesday to allow him to enter the UK, after ministers dropped their opposition to his urgent legal challenge at the eleventh hour.

The 18-year-old, referred to only as BSO for legal reasons, was challenging the refusal of Britain's Foreign Office to put his name on an evacuation list, which would have allowed him to leave Gaza via the Rafah crossing into Egypt.


He was also challenging the decision by Britain's interior ministry, or Home Office, to refuse entry clearance without providing fresh biometric data, which could only be done in Egypt.

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When the Israel-Hamas war began, BSO's parents had been visiting their other children in Britain and BSO was in Gaza, leaving him trapped.

Both government departments had been defending the case, but withdrew their opposition shortly before a hearing at London's High Court on Wednesday and agreed to retake the decisions.

One of BSO's brothers, who cannot be named as it could identify BSO, told reporters that he was pleased but still anxious as "we haven't seen much empathy" from officials, who he said had been "fixating on bureaucratic technicalities."

He said his brother had briefly been left homeless and was currently staying in Rafah, where Israel has recently threatened a new ground assault.

"I think these circumstances are pretty grave and I would expect any reasonable person to not try to find ways out of trying to help," BSO's brother said.

The Foreign Office and the Home Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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