Seventy-eight American citizens and permanent residents were evacuated yesterday from the Gaza Strip, ending more than two months of unsuccessful attempts to leave the region, according to the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Eman Bahour of Tennessee and her three children were among those to leave yesterday.

As reported in The Washington Times Aug. 9, they had been stranded in the region since Hamas took over in June, while her husband, Hossam Bahour, remained in Tennessee.

After visiting relatives, they planned to return in mid-July, with the children scheduled to resume school this month.

But when the Gaza-Israeli border closed in June after Hamas seized control of the region, Mrs. Bahour and her children were unable to leave.

From his home in Tennessee, Mr. Bahour said yesterday he is thankful that his family has been released, but he has concerns about them – particularly his son, Mohammed, who has been placed in an Israeli hospital because of a severe stomach virus.

“I have been unable to communicate with him lately by phone, and my kids have missed two weeks of school, so it’s been pretty hard for me,” Mr. Bahour said.

Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR spokesman, said his organization had been working with the U.S. State Department since June to secure their exit.


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