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Palestinian-Canadians mourning the deaths of more than 250 people yesterday in Gaza are urging Ottawa to send aid in the wake of Israeli air strikes targeting security compounds that have also wounded hundreds of others.
One community leader who represents about 12,000 Palestinian-Canadians in the Mississauga area is calling the strikes "genocide ... a Hanukkah gift from the Israeli government."
"We have many of our community members, their background is from Gaza, and we cannot talk to them because they're still waiting to hear if they lost family members or not," said Farid Ayad, president of Palestine House.
"So this is a sad day."
The violence, some of the worst in years, comes as Israel retaliates for recent rocket attacks by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
Ayad said the Conservative government must push Israel to stop the siege and then send food and fuel to civilians.
"We urge our government to interfere for a change and to put pressure on the Israeli government," Ayad said.
"I know the Conservative government has good relations with the Israeli government and I'm sure Canada could play a peaceful role in the region."
Lawrence Cannon, Canada's minister of foreign affairs, issued a statement yesterday expressing concern about the escalating situation and loss of life and suffering on all sides.