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European countries evacuate citizens from Gaza

Monday - 7/14/2014, 5:02pm  ET

A child sleeps in a woman's arms after arriving on a military plane from Gaza, at the Romanian Air Force Base 90, outside Bucharest, Romania, Monday, July 14, 2014. A group of 84 people from mixed Romanian-Palestinian families fled the conflict area and were flown out of the Gaza strip at their request by the Romanian authorities. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

LONDON (AP) -- European countries from Britain to Romania on Monday announced dozens of evacuations from Gaza amid violence in the region.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said 27 British and their Palestinian dependents left Gaza late Sunday through Israel to Jordan. Romania's foreign ministry said 84 citizens living in Gaza in mixed Romanian-Palestinian families arrived at an air base north of Bucharest on Monday from Amman, Jordan.

In Sweden, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt tweeted that 93 Swedish citizens had been evacuated from Gaza to Jordan. Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Erik Wirkensjo said the Swedes were among a few hundred other nationals who were evacuated from Gaza Sunday.

In Turkey, the foreign ministry said it assisted 28 Turkish citizens who requested help to leave the region. The group crossed into Jordan Monday.

Israel launched an air strike campaign in the Hamas-controlled Gaza last Tuesday, saying it was responding to heavy rocket fire from the territory. At least 175 people have died since the offensive began.

The outbreak of violence followed the kidnappings and killings of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last month, and the subsequent kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager in an apparent revenge attack.

Hague spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman over the weekend and urged for an immediate cease-fire.


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