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November 2, 2023

Rep. Pressley Statement on Okal Family Evacuation at Rafah Crossing

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) released the following statement on the safe evacuation of Wafaa and Abood Okal and their one-year-old Yousef from Gaza.

“I am beyond relieved to learn that Wafaa and Abood have safely crossed the Rafah border from Gaza into Egypt with their one-year-old Yousef.

“For weeks, my office and I remained in contact with them to provide guidance from the State Department and White House on their safe evacuation. They should never have been put through this terrifying ordeal and I pray for every family trapped in Gaza who fears for their babies’ survival.

“While I can breathe a sigh of relief that the Okal family and others are safe, too many families still wait with bated breath. Hundreds of other Americans remain trapped in Gaza and we cannot leave them behind. We must continue to evacuate people as quickly and safely as possible and work toward a ceasefire to save lives, facilitate the safe return of hostages, and ensure the swift delivery of humanitarian aid. With the Israeli military escalating its ground invasion of Gaza, millions of lives hang in the balance and we must move with urgency.”

Rep. Pressley joined Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) and their colleagues on a resolution condemning Hamas’ brutal attack and hostage-taking, and demanding Hamas immediately release all hostages.

Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues in announcing a resolution urging the Biden Administration to call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Israel and Gaza, to send humanitarian aid and assistance to Gaza, and to save as many lives as possible. She later joined her colleagues and a multi-faith, multiracial coalition of faith leaders and organizers for a prayer and press conference to renew their calls for a ceasefire.

Rep. Pressley joined Reps. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), James P. McGovern (MA-02), and 50 colleagues on a letter condemning the terrorist attacks by Hamas on the people of Israel, calling for Israeli military operations to follow the rules of international humanitarian law, and continuing to work toward peace in the region.

Rep. Pressley joined Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), and nearly 150 colleagues in urging the State Department to use all tools at its disposal help get Americans out of Israel and back home to the United States. She applauded the State Department for heeding her calls on October 12, 2023 and continues to press for the urgent evacuation of Americans in Gaza.