Los Angeles City Employee Safely Evacuated from Gaza

Los Angeles City Employee Safely Evacuated from Gaza
Mayor Karen Bass announced Thursday that a Los Angeles city employee caught in Gaza was now “safe in a neighboring country.” (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Mayor's Relief and Acknowledgment

A Los Angeles city employee who had been trapped in Gaza for weeks has been successfully evacuated from the besieged territory, announced the office of Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.

Mayor Karen Bass expressed her relief and shared the good news, saying, "Our office has been working to get him to safety, and I have been in regular contact with his son. I am relieved to announce today that the employee is now safe in a neighboring country and out of the war zone."

a crowd of people holding signs and flags
Photo by Gayatri Malhotra / Unsplash

Sohail Biary's Harrowing Situation

The city employee, identified as Simi Valley resident Sohail Biary, faced a perilous situation in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinians holding foreign passports have been allowed to leave Gaza since Wednesday, following weeks of international attention to their plight, as reported by the Associated Press.

The isolated Palestinian territory has been grappling with a worsening humanitarian crisis due to relentless Israeli airstrikes. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry reports that more than 9,000 people in Gaza have lost their lives since the conflict began on October 7, triggered by devastating attacks by Hamas inside Israel that claimed more than 1,400 lives.

A Father's Long-Awaited Visit

Khalid Biary, Sohail Biary's son, had previously spoken to the Ventura County Star about his father's situation. He mentioned that his 53-year-old father had traveled to his hometown of Gaza City to visit his parents just before the outbreak of the conflict. Sohail Biary serves as a district supervisor in the city's General Services Department and is a father of four, according to the Star.

Khalid Biary had reached out to the U.S. State Department for assistance when borders were closed and his father found himself in an increasingly dire situation. He was advised to guide his father to the Egyptian border. Sohail Biary, holding an American passport, waited for hours at the Egyptian border but was turned back three times, as per the Ventura County Star.

a group of people sitting on the ground in front of the capitol building
Photo by Gayatri Malhotra / Unsplash

The Importance of International Cooperation

Khalid Biary had expressed the anguish of not knowing his father's fate, recounting the worsening conditions his father faced, including constant power outages, food shortages, and the looming threat of bombings. This visit to see his parents and relatives in Gaza City was Sohail Biary's first in 15 years, as reported by KABC-TV.

In her statement, Mayor Bass extended her gratitude to President Biden, Tom Perez (Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs), California Senator Alex Padilla, and Representative Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) for their collective efforts in securing Sohail Biary's safe evacuation.

The successful evacuation of Sohail Biary serves as a testament to the importance of international cooperation during times of crisis, providing hope amid the ongoing humanitarian challenges in Gaza.

Read more