A new mother fleeing war-torn Gaza arrived in Toronto Friday and introduced her husband to their three-week old daughter for the first time.
“I don’t know what to say, finally I got my dream,” he told CTV News Toronto at Pearson airport, still holding the bouquet of flowers he brought for his wife, Yara.
Ahmed came to Canada as a student and is now a permanent resident. He had been preparing his home in Brantford, Ont. for his new family while his wife remained in Gaza. But then she got caught in a war zone.
“The war started … and there was loss of contact,” family friend Baha Eliasblhajaa told CTV News Toronto. “He lost family members.”
There were times when Ahmad did not hear from Yara for days.
She was staying in a refugee camp, and says that she could hear bombs going off nearby. The camp was one of multiple targets of Israeli airstrikes.
Yara described through her husband, who acted as a translator, how she fled to safety and feared for the life of both herself and her child.
Ahmed Abuajedian, his wife Yara and newborn baby Sila at Toronto Pearson International airport. (Nov. 10, 2023)
“We could hear the bombardment in the ground and in the air and in the sea,” she said. “We were just running, running from place to place to get safe.”
Forty-eight hours ago, Yara learned that some foreign nationals were being allowed to cross the Rafah border into Egypt. With the help of friends and Brantford MP Larry Brock, Ahmad was able to secure his wife a visa and quickly booked a plane ticket.
“I had to be a realist. We’re hearing tragic stories hour by hour, day by day,” Brock said. “It’s been a harrowing experience for Ahmad…Not knowing whether or not his pregnant wife was safe and would be able to deliver safely.”
“We’re just absolutely thrilled beyond belief that this day has finally come to fruition.”