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MI5 recruitment attempt fails as British national stranded in Gaza declines help offer

The United Kingdom’s domestic counter-intelligence and security agency known as MI5 has failed to recruit a British man stranded in the besieged Gaza Strip with his family after he turned down its offer to help them escape the war-torn territory.

The British national, who has been waiting for weeks to leave Gaza via the Rafah crossing to Egypt, told the London-based Middle East Eye (MME) website on Friday that MI5 had reached him to help him and his family escape the region but only if he agreed to work for the spy agency.

This is while his family – who include a one-year-old daughter with a serious medical condition, and two other young children – is in grave danger from an expected Israeli ground assault and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that is deteriorating by the day.

“I thought it would only take a few days or a week at most. I have been waiting for more than two months for them to get me and my family out of this crazy, dangerous war,” he said.

The British citizen, whose family has been living in a tent since being forced to flee their home in the Nuseirat refugee camp in December, said that he had registered his family with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

He added that MI5 had contacted him via a phone messaging app and advised him to register with the FCDO which was responsible for organizing evacuations.

The spy agency told him that they had influence over the FCDO but only if he could show “there is willingness from your side about working together.”

He ignored the message.

“After I received their offer, I said to myself: the UK is a country of institutions and law, and they will not obstruct the evacuation of me and my family because I did not respond to MI5’s proposal. But unfortunately, I was wrong,” he said.

The British citizen added that many of his Palestinian wife’s family, including her mother, her brother and several of his children, lost their lives in Israel’s bombing campaign, and their home was destroyed by an Israeli missile.

Israel bombs Rafah after Netanyahu orders invasion of crowded town

Israel bombs Rafah after Netanyahu orders invasion of crowded town

Israel has launched heavy bombing of Rafah after prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered troops to prepare for the invasion of the densely crowded town in the southern Gaza Strip.

The desperate man, who has lived in Gaza for the past decade, further said that Israeli and Egyptian authorities had let his children leave Gaza through the crossing but they still prevented him and his wife from crossing the border.

“Issuing permission to my children without me and their mother is absurd,” he said, adding, “The children are still young and largely dependent on their mother’s care. The little girl is still breastfeeding. At least let their mother go with them. This is the least of my children’s rights.”

On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the military to launch a ground offensive into the former safe zone of Rafah where the United Nations says some 1.9 million Palestinians have sought refuge.

At the start of the aggression on Gaza in early October last year, the regime ordered 1.1 million people in the north of Gaza to evacuate and move south of the enclave which has been the target of intense bombing.

Rights groups sounded alarm at the prospect of a ground invasion, with Doctors Without Borders saying in a statement, ”Israel’s declared ground offensive on Rafah would be catastrophic and must not proceed. There is no place that is safe in Gaza and no way for people to leave.”

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