British surgeon says his 'heart bleeds' for what he left behind in Gaza

Dr Ahmed Sabra has spoken of his relief after finally making it through the Rafah crossing

More than 10,000 people petitioned the UK government to help get Dr Ahmed Sabra back to Britain.
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A British cardio surgeon who was sent back to Gaza from Egypt has finally been allowed across the Rafah crossing to be reunited with his family.

It comes after more than 10,000 people signed a petition to urge the Foreign Office to bring Dr Ahmed Sabra home after his family were allowed into Cairo and he was sent back to Gaza.

Dr Sabra, who works in Swansea, had been visiting Gaza with his wife and three children when the conflict broke out.

But unlike his family, the cardiologist's name was not on the list to cross the border at Rafah.

Despite being allowed on a bus to the border, he was then kept at the checkpoint for days, waiting for the British authorities to help him. After negotiations failed he was returned to Gaza.

On Tuesday, speaking through his co-worker Sara Gretton, he said he was “relieved” but that his “heart is bleeding” for what he had seen and left behind.

He told her that finding a cat, which he called Tafeeda, kept his spirits up while he was trapped in Gaza without his family.

“I’m not sure if we will ever learn why safe passage was denied and why Dr Sabra did not return home with his family, but I know that collectively each and every one of your signatures contributed to bringing him home,” she told those who signed a petition calling for him to be brought home.

“He has been overwhelmed with all of your wonderful messages of support, compassion and solidarity. It has comforted him and given him strength to fight for his safe return.

Dr Sabra arrived in Cairo on Monday night.

Politician Geraint Davies, the independent MP for Swansea West, had been fighting to get Dr Sabra and his family out of Gaza for more than two weeks.

He previously told The National Dr Sabra was failed by the Foreign Office and urged the British authorities to rise to the challenge to help him and others trapped in Gaza.

“If he was a US citizen he would be home. It is extraordinary that people are being moved from war-torn Gaza to Egypt and the British embassy has not got the power to help them and are dancing to the tune of others,” he said.

“The British authorities need to step in and demand that all British nationals are released to our custody and allowed to come home.”

Dr Sabra was sent back to Gaza with nowhere to go and five per cent phone battery and told to fend for himself.

Updated: November 15, 2023, 9:10 AM